There is only one big NFL game this week – it’s not quite the AFC Divisional Championship game but it may as well be.
New England Patriots at Pittsburgh Steelers – Monday 10.25am NZ time
The perennial Super Bowl favourites the New England Patriots head to Pittsburgh to face a Steelers team that may be the destiny team this season. Steelers Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has not ruled out retirement come season end and like their 2006 Superbowl run when one of their other leaders Jerome Bettis announced that it would be his last season the team did it for him and wo it all. This has a similar feel to it. Championship teams win the close ones and that is something the Steelers have done over the past month. 5 of their six wins have been by 5 points or less. That shows some character. Running Back Antonio Brown is ones of the best in the league and rookie receiver JuJu Smith-Shuster (banned last week for dangerous play the week before) has been one of the finds of the season.
The Patriots have been solid this season rather then spectacular. They have had a few blow out wins and laid the odd egg – last week’s loss to Mimi was certainly one of those. Totally outplayed by Dolphins quarterback Jay Cutler – yes that Jay – the talk predictably enough was that Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is on the wane. Dangerous talk this as historically as usually he following week he plays a blinder. This week though that will be tough to do.
Here the Patriots are 3 point favourites on the road which is unusual not to be the underdog when heading to the Steelers home ground. Take the Steelers to grind out another win by less than 5 points keeping both consistency and their destiny going. These two are odds on to meet again in the post season
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