THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL WEEK 14: NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS AT PITTSBURGH STEELERS
Since the Week Six 19-8 debacle that the Kansas City Chiefs won over the then hapless Denver Broncos, Thursday Night Football has delivered the goods. Even if the game was a key matchup or scintillating from the opening kickoff, for the most part all the contests came down to the wire and have been fun, at least in the fourth quarter. Last week we got one of the most entertaining games of the year as the Dallas Cowboys won a shootout over the Seattle Seahawks, 41-35.
This week? Nobody’s scoring 41 or 35. Hell, we might not even get a Broncos-like eight points out of it when the New England Patriots travel to Western Pennsylvania to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers. We could legitimately see our first 0-0 tie of the Super Bowl era. The last one came in 1943 when the Detroit Lions and New York Giants finished regulation with goose eggs. Overtime did not exist for another 30 years. There’s another important caveat to that particular game — most of the good players for both squads were fighting in World War II and unavailable to play football on that particular rainy day in the Big Apple as they were saving our civilization.
This will be the 35th all time meeting between the two franchises, with the Pats holding an 18-16 advantage. New England has won the last two matchups and 14 of the last 18 going all the way back to 1998. They squared off last season with New England claiming a 17-14 win on Sep. 18, 2022. Mac Jones was 21 of 35 passing for 252 yards, one touchdown and an interception in the win. Damien Harris (now with the Buffalo Bills) rushed 15 times for 71 yards and a score. Nelson Agholor (now with the Baltimore Ravens) caught six balls for 110 yards and a TD.
In the loss, Mitchell Trubisky was 21 of 33 passing for 168 yards, one TD and a pick. Najee Harris rushed 15 times for 49 yards. Diontae Johnson caught six passes for 57 yards.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS AT PITTSBURGH STEELERS (-6, O/U: 30)
Location: Acrisure Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Broadcast: Amazon Prime
Kickoff: Dec. 7, 8:15 p.m.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (2-10)
New England officially secured its worst record under Bill Belichick losing its fifth game in a row in embarrassing fashion, 6-0 to the Los Angles Chargers. Bailey Zappe was 13 of 25 passing for 141 yards, no touchdowns and no picks in the loss. Ezekiel Elliott rushed 17 times for 52 yards. DeVante Parker had four receptions for 64 yards as the team was completely shut out. The defense did not lay a mitt on Justin Herbert but did hold the Chargers to just 29 total yards on the ground.
PITTSBURGH STEELERS (7-5)
A week after finding new life with former offensive coordinator Matt Canada kicked solidly to the curb, the Steelers fell back to Earth hard, losing Kenny Pickett for (maybe) four weeks as well as the game, falling 24-10 to the Arizona Cardinals. Pickett was 7 of 10 passing for 70 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions before he went down. Mitch Trubisky, out of the bullpen, was 11 of 17 passing for 117 yards and a TD with no picks. Najee Harris had 16 carries for 63 yards. George Pickens hauled in four passes for 86 yards. The defense sacked Kyler Murray twice.
Listen, we all wanted New England to be bad, but now they’re in the dangerous territory of landing the No. 1 overall pick and Caleb Williams. None of us, not a single person on the planet not cursed to root for the Pats, wants that to happen. As such, it’s time for the Patriots to win a few to ensure they whiff on Williams and hopefully Drake Maye too. Let New England talk itself into Bo Nix or JJ McCarthy. The Pats have given up 10, 10 and 6 points over the last three weeks, all in games they lost. So as much as we all want to dunk on Bill Belichick this season, the dude can still coach up a mean defense. Patriots 10, Steelers 6
Straight up: 7-6
Against the spread: 6-7
Straight up: 103-62
Against the spread: 92-73