After a last-second heartbreaker of a loss to the Miami Dolphins last week, the New England Patriots will look to keep their hopes for the No. 1 seed alive with a trip to Pittsburgh against the struggling Steelers.
Though they remain in first in the sluggish AFC North, the 7-5-1 Steelers come into play with three straight losses to their name, including a 24-21 final against the hapless Oakland Raiders last weekend.
If you include postseason meetings, this will be the 12th head-to-head between these two rivals since 2005.
The Patriots have won all but two of those meetings, and come into Pittsburgh with a five-game winning streak over the Steelers. The Patriots came into Heinz Field last year and by all means stole a win behind a 27-24 final, complete with a controversial catch/no-catch ruling on Steelers tight end Jesse James.
Here's how the 98.5 The Sports Hub staff sees this one going for the Pats...
Ty Anderson (writer/columnist, 985TheSportsHub.com)
Are we done losing our heads about a last-second loss in Miami? Are we done pretending that these Patriots team isn't still equipped to hang with the league's best? I mean, think about it: Every time the Patriots are in a head-to-head with what we would consider a viable postseason threat or team on equal footing, they win. I don't expect this week to be any different; Pittsburgh still has no idea how to stop Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman is going to feast on the Steelers trying to put linebackers on him, and Pittsburgh enters this weekend meeting without their de facto No. 1 running back.
Patriots 37, Steelers 27.
Christian Arcand (The Adam Jones Show)
Since I'm the only one who correctly predicted the Dolphins win last week I would assume everyone will read this pick and then skip the rest of them - so with that in mind I'm anticipating a low scoring game between two old banged up QBs but the Patriots prevailing when the Steelers stupidity catches up with them. Plus Pittsburgh is a lot more desperate than the Pats are and I think that will work against them as well.
Patriots 24, Steelers 21.
Tony Massarotti (Felger and Mazz)
I'd love to tell you I feel good about this, but how could you - for either side? The Pats and Steelers might by NFL royalty, but they've both had their share of internal strife over the last year-plus. The Steelers are still a mess and the Patriots really can't win on the road. My guess is that neither team will really deserve to win this game. I wouldn't bet on this game with your money, let alone mine. But if you're asking me to choose, my money's on the Steelers missing a field goal at the end of the game - or doing something else stupid to screw it up.
Patriots 31, Steelers 30.
Matt McCarthy (98.5 The Sports Hub)
The Patriots inability to beat vastly inferior teams on the road this season proves what frauds they are. However, the Steelers are the same group of imposters they've been for a decade. Some things will never change, and the Patriots, as fraudulent as they are in 2018, will beat the imposters the way they always do. It won't matter that this game is in Pittsburgh, you could play this game on Mars and the Patriots would still win.
Patriots 28, Steelers 24.
Mike 'Sarge' Riley (98.5 The Sports Hub)
I think Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski pick up where they left off on Sunday (with Gronk on offense only). Time for the Patriots to cash in on a little help from the Chargers on Thursday and I don’t see them losing two in a row in December.
Patriots 27, Steelers 21.
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