The Pittsburgh Steelers lost a third-consecutive game in Week 14 on the road to the Oakland Raiders and now they’ll look to get back in the win column in Week 15 when they host the 9-4 New England Patriots. It will be a tough task for the 7-5-1 Steelers, who started Tuesday as 1.5-point home underdogs, according to vegasinsider.com.
There was a delay in this week’s line getting set and it was probably mainly due to the uncertainty surrounding Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who suffered a rib injury during the team’s Sunday loss to the Raiders. Roethlisberger, by the way, is now expected to play against the Patriots on Sunday.
As for the Patriots, they enter Sunday’s game against the Steelers on the heels of a last-second 34-33 road loss to the Miami Dolphins. That winning score by the Dolphins came via a thrilling hook-and-ladder pass play that covered 69-yards.
In Sunday’s loss to the Dolphins, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady completed 27 of his 43 total pass attempts for 358 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. His three scoring tosses went to wide receivers Julian Edelman, Cordarrelle Patterson and tight end Rob Gronkowski, who finished the 8 receptions for 107 yards.
For the season, Brady has completed 65.6% of his pass attempts for 3,700 yards with 23 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. Brady has also been sacked 18 times in total so far this season with two of those coming against the Dolphins this past Sunday.
Patriots running back James White currently leads the team in receptions, receiving yardage and touchdown catches. He’s caught 76 passes for 674 yards and 6 touchdowns to date in addition to rushing for 342 yards and 4 touchdowns on 80 total carries.
Fellow Patriots running back Sony Michel, the team’s first-round draft pick this year, leads New England in rushing entering Week 15 with 706 yards and 5 touchdowns on 164 total carries. Michel has also caught 7 passes for another 50 yards this season.
Defensively for the Patriots, linebacker Kyle Van Noy currently leads the team in total tackles with 80. He’s also registered 2.5 sacks this season to go along with an interception and a forced fumble. Defensive end Trey Flowers enters Week 15 as the Patriots leader in sacks with 6.5 while cornerback Jonathan Jones is his team’s leader in interceptions with 3.
The Patriots are 3-4 on the road so far this season and they averaged 21.9 points per game in those seven contests. They are currently the leaders of the AFC East division and the No. 2 seed in the AFC entering Week 15.
The Steelers and Patriots have met each other 31 times (including 5 postseason games) previously with Pittsburgh winning 15 times and New England winning the other 16. In the 21 games that were played in Pittsburgh, the Steelers have won 11 of them. The last time the Steelers beat the Patriots in Pittsburgh was in 2011. Brady has a career record of 11-2 against the Steelers with both losses coming in Pittsburgh.
The last meeting between the Steelers and Patriots took place last season in a Week 15 game that New England won 27-24. That game included an initially ruled touchdown reception by Steelers Jesse James with 34-seconds left in the game being reviewed and ultimately overturned. Two plays later, Roethlisberger was intercepted in the end zone with less than 10 seconds remaining to give the Patriots the win.
In that loss, Roethlisberger completed 22 of his 30 total pass attempts for 281 yards with two touchdowns and the late interception. The Steelers also registered 143 net yards rushing in that game and running back Le’Veon Bell totaled 165 total yards from scrimmage and a touchdown on 29 total touches.
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