AFC Championship Preview(Pittsburgh Steelers vs New England Patriots)3 minute read

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Sunday Night’s AFC Championship match-up will feature two of the most dominant teams in the AFC. This is not a usual game, this is the chance to punch their ticket for Super Bowl LI. For the Steelers they are going into this game as the underdogs, If the Steelers are going to beat the Patriots, running back Le’Veon Bell has to touch the ball at least 30 times. He has been nearly unstoppable in the last eight games, rushing for 1,172 yards (146.5 per game). But his 337 yards in the playoffs came against the 30th and 26th-ranked rush defenses, and the Patriots, third vs. the run, will prove a stiffer test. They held Bell to 81 yards on 21 carries earlier this season. The last time these two teams met the Patriots won and Ben Roethlisberger was out due to injury.The Patriots are going to have to respect the  Steelers‘ passing game much more in the rematch. The Steelers are 5-0 in rematch games this season and they’ll have to go 6-for-6 if they want to get to Super Bowl LI.

Now on to the New England Patriots, they are the heavy favorite in this match-up. Tom Brady has been playing red hot and with a point to prove since coming back from his 4 game suspension. As of late the Patriots running game has picked up with LeGarrette Blount running the ball like a beast and in the last meeting he ran the ball for 127 yards and two TDs, and Dion Lewis is now back in the line-up and last week became the first player in postseason history with a rushing TD, receiving TD and kick-return TD in a game.

The Sum Up: Look for the Steelers to come out swinging with a heavy dose of the run game and then mix in the pass especially play-actions and short throws, but watch-out for the trick plays at some point. As for their defense expect a heavy blitz package with a lot of pressure on Brady. As for the Patriots, watch for them to score fast and early and if they do that, they will keep trying to score to put the game out of reach. Now on the defensive side of the ball New England will stack the box and bring the heat as well.  If this game plays out the way it should this will be a shoot-out and look for a close score game.

Prediction: STEELERS:21 New England:28

 

REAL FACTS:

The Steelers are 36-23 in the postseason, the most playoff wins in NFL history. They rank fourth in postseason win percent (.610) and have seven division titles since 2002.

The Patriots have appeared in six consecutive conference championship games, the most all-time. They have won eight consecutive division titles, the longest streak in NFL history. Since 2001, they have won four Super Bowls, the most in the NFL. They are 30-19 in the playoffs, third-highest winning percent in playoff history.

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