Coming off of another 1-1 week last week as the Andy Reid magic off a bye wore off and the Chiefs lost a heart breaker at home. The plus side of that loss for us is that the Steelers futures are still alive including AFC Champs which we will hopefully cash Sunday. Here’s hoping for a Superbowl between the Steelers and the ATLiens.
2016 Reg Season: 53-37-3
Game 1: Pit +6 @ NE
Bet% Pit 44% NE 56%
How good are the Patriots? Statistically there is no question they grade out as the best team in the league, they finished 1st in overall DVOA and Weighted DVOA, they were 1st in point differential and won 14 games despite not having Tom Brady for the 1st 4 games and Rob Gronkowski for just 8 games. So the answer to how good they are should be awesome, easily the best team I the league and it’s a no doubter. Here’s the problem, who have they played?
The best QB The Pats have played this year is Russell Wilson, they lost that game at home 31-24. Here are the next best 4 QBs they faced by passer rating, Ryan Tannehill (12th), Andy Daulton (15th), Tyrod Taylor(18th), Carson Palmer (20th). Those were the best 5 QBs on the schedule, the rest of the schedule is full of Ryan Fitzpatrick, Brock Osweiller, Trevor Simien, Charlie Whitehurst and the Browns, Jared Goff, Colin Kaepernick and in the Steelers game Landry Jones.
The Patriots schedule makes it so difficult to truly know how good this team is especially the defense. Football Outsiders has the Patriots playing the easiest schedule in the league this year and its hard to argue. As a result we don’t really know how they will hold up against a test as good as the Steelers.
Pittsburgh finished the year 8th on offense and 11th on defense but we know that they didn’t have their Big 3 Ben, Brown and Bell for 16 games, Bell missed the first 3 to suspension and Ben missed 3 to injury. We also know the defense has been improving late in the season especially the pass rush. Through the first 7 weeks the Steelers were 31st in sack percentage at 3.71%, they finished the season 11th at 6.05%. The Steelers pass rush in late in the season and playoffs has been led by Bud Dupree who didn’t play until week 12 because of an injury but has been dominant over the last 4 games.