TALE OF THE TAPE

Tale Of The Tape: Pittsburgh Steelers At New England Patriots

Pittsburgh Steelers
New England Patriots
(credit: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
(credit: Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
(credit: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
(credit: Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Quarterback
The Steelers were ill-prepared to take on the Oakland Raiders in Week Eight and no matter what was said after the game, they were looking ahead to this game against the Patriots and it cost them in a big way. Ben Roethlisberger is healthy right now, and that’s a big change from past years but he is not getting the kind of protection he needs.
Winner While Tom Brady does not have the receivers he has had in the past, that’s not the only reason the quarterback has been off this year. He is playing with swelling in his right hand and his passes have lacked accuracy. Brady won’t use that as an excuse and he shouldn’t. He merely needs to take what opposing defenses are giving him, something he did regularly in the past.
Offense
The Steelers were hoping they would get a hard-edged running back when they selected Le’Veon Bell last spring. While it’s too early to write him off, Bell’s 3.3 yards per carry average has not given the Steelers the ground game they need. Antonio Brown is proving to be a solid target who will catch nearly anything he can touch. Heath Miller is still a solid tight end.
Winner The Patriots’ running backs demonstrated fumbling problems earlier in the year, but it appears those issues have been solved. Stevan Ridley, LeGarrette Blount and Brandon Bolden form a solid combination for Brady. Tight end Rob Gronkowski is getting closer to top form, while Danny Amendola will try to stay healthy so he can make a few plays on the outside.
Defense
Winner The Steelers appear to have gotten it back together defensively since they rank fourth in overall defense, and that makes their Week Eight loss to the Raiders that much more galling. Inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons is having a solid year and he leads the team with 59 tackles and he also has five passes defensed. Outside linebacker has a team-high 5.0 sacks.
The Patriots had a solid defense earlier in the year, but that unit has been ripped apart by injuries to Vince Wilfork, Jerod Mayo and Aqib Talib. While Wilfork and Mayo are done for the year, Talib could return from his hip injury this week. Defensive end Chandler Jones has a team-high 6.5 sacks, while defensive tackle Chris Jones is right behind with 4.5 sacks.
Special Teams
The Steelers appear to be playing fast and loose with their return teams. They haven’t given up any touchdown returns, but they appear to be on the verge of giving up a damaging return every week. Placekicker Shaun Suisham has been shockingly effective, making 15-of-17 FG attempts.
Winner The Patriots are not taking their special teams for granted. They regularly do an excellent job in coverage and Julian Edelman is a threat to flip field position on punt returns nearly every time he touches the ball. Stephen Gostkowski has made 20-of-21 FG attempts and may be the best kicker in the league.

The Winner Is

(credit: Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Winner New England Patriots
3 out of 4

The Patriots are not about to feel sorry for the Steelers and allow them to come into Foxboro and steal a win. However, if Brady can’t improve his accuracy, New England could be vulnerable.
-Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor

MORE TALES OF THE TAPE

  1. INDIANAPOLIS, IN - NOVEMBER 20:  Andrew Luck #12 of the Indianapolis Colts runs with the ball during the second half of the game against the Tennessee Titans at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 20, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 27:  Ryan Fitzpatrick #14 of the New York Jets looks to throw a pass against the New England Patriots in the game at MetLife Stadium on November 27, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Justin Heiman/Getty Images)
    Week 13 Tale Of The Tape: Indianapolis Colts at New York Jets

    The Colts are still alive for the playoffs while the Jets are just playing out the string.

  2. OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 27:  Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers looks to pass against the Oakland Raiders during their NFL game on November 27, 2016 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) TAMPA, FL - NOVEMBER 27:  Quarterback Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks runs for several yards on the quarterback keeper during the second quarter of an NFL game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on November 27, 2016 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
    Week 13 Tale Of The Tape: Carolina Panthers at Seattle Seahawks

    The Panthers travel to Seattle for a date with the Seahawks.

  3. TAMPA, FL - NOVEMBER 27:  Quarterback Jameis Winston #3 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers looks for a receiver during the third quarter of an NFL game against the Seattle Seahawks on November 27, 2016 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images) SAN DIEGO, CA - NOVEMBER 13:  Philip Rivers #17 of the San Diego Chargers passes the ball during a game against the Miami Dolphins at Qualcomm Stadium on November 13, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
    Week 13 Tale Of The Tape: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at San Diego Chargers

    The Bucs are in second place in the NFC South and look to keep pace with the Falcons as they match-up with a tough Chargers team.

See All Tales of the Tape

More From CBS Dallas / Fort Worth

Drip Pan: CBS Local App
Drip Pan: Weather App
Drip Pan: Restaurant Week 365

Listen Live