BOSTON (CBS) — The biggest game of the NFL season takes place on Sunday in Pittsburgh, as the Patriots and Steelers battle for the top spot in the AFC.
It seems like the Steelers can’t lose lately, winners of eight straight with late comebacks in four of their last five games. The Patriots are smarting after a tough 27-20 loss to the Dolphins on Monday night, which snapped their own eight-game win streak.
But the Pats have had their way with the Steelers during the Belichick-Brady run, and they won both of their matchups last season — a regular season tilt in Pittsburgh and the AFC Championship game in Foxboro. Here’s how the WBZ-TV Sports team sees Sunday’s game playing out:
Steve Burton, WBZ-TV Sports
Bring on the Steelers. This game can’t get here soon enough.
The Patriots are coming off an embarrassing loss in Miami where nothing went right. It’s the perfect time for them to get laser focused for their biggest game of the year.
Both teams know what’s at stake, and the best news of all? Gronk is back!
Patriots 28, Steelers 24
Dan Roche, WBZ-TV Sports
I said it as soon as the Miami game ended and will say it again: I will be shocked if the Patriots lose this game. Tom Brady plays well against the Steelers as he’s 10-2 with 29 touchdowns and only three interceptions. He’s 5-2 (unlike his 7-9 mark at Miami) with 11 touchdowns and three picks in Pittsburgh.
Brady will lead the way (with Gronk returning) and the Pats will simply find a way to win, retaking the No. 1 seed in the AFC.
Patriots 34, Steelers 28
Levan Reid, WBZ-TV Sports
Now that the Patriots have their annual Dolphins loss under their belts, we can focus on the game of the year.
One item is clear, New England is a much different team when Rob Gronkowski is on the field. His presence allows the whole offense to get open.
I don’t expect this game to be easy, but I expect the Pats to win. They’ve been one of the better teams in defending Antonio Brown in recent years, and it’s quite possible they can allow Le’veon Bell to get his yards but still remain in control of the game.
Tom Brady needs a bounce contest after two subpar games to quiet all the doubters, and getting the Pats back in the win column would do just that.
Patriots 31, Steelers 23
Tune in to Patriots-Steelers on WBZ-TV — the flagship station of the New England Patriots! Coverage begins at 11:30am with Patriots GameDay, and after the game switch over to myTV38 for Patriots 5th Quarter!