Steelers at Patriots AFC Championship Game

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Photo credit: www.steelers.com

(THE PICKET) – Ben Roethlisberger and the red hot Pittsburgh Steelers march into Gillette stadium Sunday Jan. 22 to face off against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots for a chance to play in Super Bowl LI.

It all began with the Steelers victory against the Miami Dolphins in this year’s AFC Wild Card game where stars Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell scored their first post-season touchdowns of their NFL careers.

Bell rushed for an outstanding 167 yards on 29 carries and two touchdowns on the ground while Brown added five receptions for 124 yards and also scored two touchdowns through the air.

While the Steelers and Dolphins faced off, the New England Patriots were at home preparing for their next opponent, and that next opponent happened to be the Houston Texans, the most confusing NFL team I have ever witnessed.

The Texans defeated the Derrick “Carr’less” Oakland Raiders 27-17 to move on to the next round of the NFL playoffs to a battle with the number one seeded New England Patriots.

The game between Houston and New England was far from enjoyable as the Patriots came into the game as if it was already won. The Texans played the Patriots close for two quarters. Houston’s defense held the Patriots to a field goal on the last play of the first half and went into halftime down 17-13.

The Texans were proud of their performance to say the least. But before you knew it there was a Brady pass here, Dion Lewis scamper there, and the game ended in the Patriots favor 34-16.

The following day the Steelers traveled to Kansas City, Missouri, to face Andy Reid and the number two seeded Kansas City Chiefs who were favorites going into this game based on statistics.

Before the loss to the Steelers, Andy Reid, who is the Chiefs’ head coach, had an eye-popping 13-2 record following a bye week. In other words, you just don’t give Andy Reid a full week to prepare.

But the Steelers did. Pittsburgh came into the game with Reid’s post bye week record out of their minds as they went on to defeat the Chiefs 18-16.

Despite another dazzling performance by Le’Veon Bell, who rushed for 170 yards, the Steelers failed to score a single touchdown. They still won the game off of kicker Chris Boswell’s 6/6 night, a new NFL playoff record.

And then there was post game.

After the win, Steelers receiver Antonio Brown broadcast from his personal Facebook live account where he expressed his excitement for moving on in the playoffs and defeating the Kansas City Chiefs.

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin addressed his team after the win and during Brown’s “post-game celebration” Tomlin’s entire speech was filmed where he referred to the New England Patriots as “those a** holes”.

Since the incident both Brown and Tomlin have been spoken to by league officials.

Could this game have gotten any more exciting? Two red hot teams will battle it out for the opportunity of a lifetime, to play in the Super Bowl.

Le’Veon Bell who’s been on a complete tear will have to go up against a Patriots defense that just doesn’t allow teams to have a successful day running the ball.

Roethlisberger vs Brady, not as historical as Manning vs Brady, but there have been some pretty great games between the two.

Key Matchups

  • Bell vs Patriots defense: The Patriots have not allowed a 90 yard rusher in the last 24 games! WOW!
  • Antonio Brown vs Malcom Butler: To be the best, you have to beat the best, these two are arguably two of the best players at their position, and it’ll be great to see who will come out on top.
  • Todd Haley vs. Matt Patricia: It’s tough to pick apart Patricia’s defense, he sends so many different types of blitz and coverages that its gets difficult to handle. Haley and Roethlisberger have to put guys in the right position to be successful.
  • Steelers offense vs. Steelers offense: The Steelers had ample opportunities to score touchdowns in the red zone against the Chiefs but failed and had to settle for field goals. If they want to defeat Tom Brady and that high powered New England offense they have to score the football, touchdowns this time, not field goals.

Prediction:

Patriots 27, Steelers 20

Ryan Sturdivant is a Sports Reporter for The Picket. He can be reached at rsturdivant19@gmail.com