NFL News

New England Patriots at Pittsburgh Steelers

New England Patriots at Pittsburgh Steelers


When the Patriots run – Edge: Steelers

The Patriots showed some positive signs early when it came to running the football. Damien Harris and to a lesser extent Rhamondre Stevenson showed flashes of production on the first two drives, but things seemed to bog down from there. Overall New England managed just 78 yards on 22 carries for a subpar 3.5-yard average. Harris had most of that with a respectable 5.3-yard average on his nine carries for 48 yards. Now the task gets even tougher as the Patriots head to Pittsburgh, where the Steelers boast a stout defensive front. Tyson Alualu mans the middle between Larry Ogunjobi and Cameron Heyward to make life difficult on opposing running backs. Cincinnati’s Joe Mixon had 82 yards in the opener against the Steelers but needed 27 carries to get there, which translates to just over 3 yards a pop. A big chunk of the damage the Bengals did on the ground came off Joe Burrow scrambles (47 yards), so the Patriots won’t be able to rely on that type of production. The turnovers prevented the Patriots from continuing to grind out yards on the ground, but Harris needs more than nine attempts when averaging more than 5 per carry. It won’t be easy to get that accomplished in Pittsburgh

When the Patriots pass – Edge: Steelers

Until the Patriots get their offensive line straightened out it’s hard to imagine the passing game enjoying many productive games. Mac Jones wasn’t sharp in Miami but he also didn’t get much help in terms of protection. He was victimized but runaway rushers on a couple of occasions, one leading to a strip sack/touchdown for the Dolphins. The problems appeared to be more related to communication than anything else, so there is at least some hope for improvement. But again, a trip to Pittsburgh to take on a Steelers defense that has routinely kept its team in games in recent years isn’t exactly the best place to fix all the issues. The Patriots will get a huge break with the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year…

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