Expert Final Thoughts - Pittsburgh Steelers vs New England Patriots  

Pittsburgh Steelers players

Friday, January 20, 2017 6:32 PM GMT

Tom Brady and the Patriots beat the Steelers in Week 8 but that was without Ben Roethlisberger. But with reports of a Flu bug affecting 15 Pittsburgh players and New England’s dominance over The Black and Gold of late, the visitors will have to do everything right to earn another trip to the Super Bowl.

AFC Championship Game - Pittsburgh Steelers vs New England Patriots  

The New England Patriots welcome the Pittsburgh Steelers to Gillette Stadium (FieldTurf) in Foxborough (Chance of Rain, Low 33° F, ENE Winds 10-20 mph) on Sunday. The offshores currently have the Patriots 5½- to 6-point favorites with the total from 50 to 50½. The money line sees New England -235 with Pittsburgh at +215 while the 1st Half odds have the Patriots 3- to 3½-point chalks.

 

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers have been phenomenal since Week 11, W8 straight and tying for the NFL lead in Takeaways (+18) thanks to the great play of Harrison, Timmons, and Dupree. But this is where the rubber meets road and Pittsburgh are just 2-9 SU L11 vs. NE, 1-3 L4 Playoffs at Foxboro and Brady’s never lost at Home to the Steelers.

But those teams didn’t have Big Ben, Bell, and Brown with the evolving defense (20.4 ppg, #10), this is the opponent the Patriots didn’t want to see in this spot. The Steelers are 2-0-2 ATS L4 Playoffs, 7-1-1 ATS L9 overall and 21-7-2 ATS L30 Road vs. team winning home record. The Over is 6-0 L6 Pittsburgh conference Championship Games with the Under 8-3 L11 vs. teams with Winning Record, 20-7 L27 road, and 5-0 L5 FieldTurf.

 

New England Patriots

HC Belichick (173-124-7 ATS) and the Patriots (11-4 ATS L15 Series) have not only had an efficient offense, but the defense has been fantastic this season, making Brady’s life easier, especially without his main man, Gronkowski (Back). But with Edelman, Amendola, Hogan, Floyd, Bennett, Blount and Lewis, NE has a plethora of skill guys and the Steelers will have to make adjustments although this is a game they (Underdog 10-4 ATS L14) can win.

The Patriots and Brady (80-52-6 ATS Home) have the Homefield they wanted and NE is 35-17-4 L56 Home vs. Teams Winning Records, 4-1 ATS L5 Home and Home Playoffs and 25-9-2 ATS L36 in Foxborough. The Over is 58-28 L86 NE FieldTurf and 13-5 L18 January.

 

A Perfect Example of A Game in Which to Tread Lightly...

Both teams played fairly poorly last weekend and the point spread and total seem spot on. This is a game to be careful with as irrational exuberance can also happen at the betting window. When these teams met Week 7 in Pittsburgh, Roethlisberger was out and the Patriots won, 27-16 as (NE -7, 49½). With a spot in Super Bowl LI at stake, this could be close and even with 15 Steelers affected by the Flu, taking 6 or more points seems like the best advice with Brady to possibly get blitz-rattled.

 

Predicted Final Score: Patriots 27 Steelers 23Free AFC Championship Pick: Steelers +6Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

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