It’s Ben vs. Brady.
It’s Steelers vs. Patriots.
But what it’ll be about mostly on Sunday is “run” and “stop the run.”
These aren’t your typical Tom Brady Patriots.
They ran it more than they threw it last Sunday, for crying out loud.
And they’re almost as likely to score a touchdown running it as they are throwing it this season.
Yes, Brady will still target tight end Rob Gronkowski as many times as Brady sees fit.
But if the Steelers don’t contain New England’s three-headed monster at running back, if they let Brady throw on downs that aren’t obvious passing downs they aren’t
going to stop him.
So that's Job One.
On offense _ Job Two _ the Steelers need to exploit the NFL’s No. 31 run defense.
This has to be the week they get Le’Veon Bell over 100 yards on the ground, the week Bell can bust a few big ones on cutbacks, the week the Steelers fix what’s wrong in the red zone by running it in from the red zone.
The alternative is to attempt to pass on third-and-obvious and succumb to New England’s wide variety of blitzes.
That’s ineffective at best and dangerous at worst.
So the Steelers are going to have to run it in New England.
They’re going to have to limit Ben Roethlisberger’s exposure when throwing it against a defense that has a penchant for taking the ball away, something the Patriots
have done for 35 consecutive games.
And as goofy as it sounds, the Steelers are going to have to make Brady throw it.
If they can do all of that and avoid missing multiple field goals of 30-something yards, they’ll have a shot.