Patriots Match-Up Mania: Defense Vs. Steelers Offense
The New England Patriots thrive in November. Is it possible for fans to be optimistic and focus on the team’s 35-13 record in this month? Probably not.
With an offense that is only consistent in its inconsistency – three points in the first half against Miami followed by 24 in the second half is a simple example – Bill Belichick’s defensive team needs to keep beatable teams like the Pittsburgh Steelers in check.
That’s not to say there are no questions surrounding the defense. The defensive injury bug has been well documented as Vince Wilfork and Jerod Mayo are lost for the season and Tommy Kelly and Aqib Talib remain in the air regarding their playing status. Kelly is definitely out tomorrow while Talib could play. Talib might not return until after the bye week.
— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) November 1, 2013
I suspect the newest Patriot on the roster, Isaac Sopoaga, will be in uniform to help occupy space on the defensive line. A unstopping big man will serve to augment youngsters Joe Vellano and Chris Jones even with a lack of familiarity with the coaches and players in Foxboro. He got a nice vote of confidence from BB:
We have a couple more days to clean up a few things, but if he continues to progress through the week, I don’t think there’s any reason why he shouldn’t be ready to play…He’s a smart guy and he obviously has a lot of experience I’d say he’s had a real good career. For a fourth-round pick that’s done what he’s done, there aren’t too many of them that have done that. I think it’s been pretty good.
Pittsburgh is struggling as a team and their offense is no different as the 23rd best unit in the NFL. Ben Roethlisberger can’t be overlooked, however, he is fronted by an offensive line in flux and possibly shorthanded. Chandler Jones should be able to take advantage of that situation.