As Usual, Pittsburgh And New England Both Streaking Down The Stretch

There are some impressive winning streaks going on around the NFL right now. Just yesterday, both the Eagles and the Saints extended their streaks to a league-high eight games. The Vikings have also won six in a row in the NFC.

Three teams in the AFC have streaks of four wins or more as well, and two of them are the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New England Patriots, the owners, jointly, of the best record in the AFC, and of the second-best record in the league overall.

Between now and four weeks from yesterday, when they face off, both teams have three games on the docket against teams who have a .500 record or worse, which means that both teams have a reasonable shot of taking a winning streak approaching double digits into the contest.

Since being embarrassed at home by the Jacksonville Jaguars—the other team with a streak of at least four wins in a row—the Steelers have won their past five games, including a convincing 40-17 throttling of the Titans on Thursday that saw them pull away in the second half for their first impressive scoring total of the season.

With the Patriots dominating a hapless Raiders team that couldn’t help but repeatedly and literally drop the ball, New England has now won six consecutive games after falling to 2-2 through the first four weeks of the season.

Needless to say, something has got to give. As I’ve talked about earlier, if either team loses a game between now and then, it is almost assured to come at the hands of a division rival, as the Steelers’ next three games include two division opponents, while all five of New England’s remaining games outside of Pittsburgh are within their division.

It’s worth noting that these were the two streaky teams in the AFC down the stretch last year, as well. Both the Steelers and the Patriots won their final seven games of the regular season entering the playoffs, though Pittsburgh finished with an 11-5 record while New England capped off a 14-2 season.

Both teams have a history of finishing strong. At least when they have to. Most seasons under Mike Tomlin in Pittsburgh, for example, have finished by going 6-2 or better during the back half of the schedule, and, well, the Patriots usually only lose two to four games all season. They’ve only lost more than four games with Tom Brady three times, winning 12 or more 11 times, all the 11 best records in team history.

There are a lot of parallels between these two franchises over the course of the past decade and a half or so, not the least of which being consistent—or relatively consistent—success. It is no surprise to find them once again seemingly on a path toward deciding the fate of the AFC against one another.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.

  • MattHat121

    It’s likely that week 17 will matter more than usual. Pats, Steelers, and Jags are running neck and neck for home field advantage. Discipline and execution vs. lesser divisional opponents will be key. Captain Obvious.

    Heinz vs Foxborough is HUGE when it comes to that Patriots game. Probably moreso for Steelers.

    It’s going to be an exciting finish, and perhaps this is the last year we’ll see these two QB’s share the same field. I’m going to enjoy it.

  • NCSteel

    That whole thing about the Pats defense not being too good this year is fake news. They have corrected they’re early season miscues and seem to be playing really well on D. Man they hammered the Raiders (just give up and move to Vegas, baby).

    We are also rounding into form quite nicely as the season progresses.
    Still, don’t expect Brady to toss 4 int’s.
    The team wants this, they’re gonna have to take it to them for a full 60 and absolutely sack, hit, pressure and generally frighten Brady into poorly times tosses.
    Sitting back there playing bend don’t break will not get it done.
    I feel like they can do it but almost afraid to admit it out loud.

  • SteelersGeek4Lyfe

    I agree, I think the Steelers on their best day are better than the P*ts on their best day this year… the only problem is the P*ts tend to play every game close to their best, and you never know which Steelers will show up even from one half to another. Here’s to hoping they can pull it together for two consecutive halves against the P*ts.

  • SteelersGeek4Lyfe

    Also, don’t those early season defensive collapses by the P*ts, like against the Chiefs, feel like seasons ago? They’ve held their last 5 opponents to 17 points or fewer… they may not be great, but anyone that thinks their defense is going to just roll over must have been sleeping for over a month.

  • Reezy

    The Pats beat the Falcons and Seahawks in years past in Primetime moments..I just don’t see this Steelers D with enough of “it” regardless of the stats to frustrate Tom, Bill & Co. It will come down to Steelers offense and possession control.

  • MC

    Offense just needs to be perfect from kickoff. Third downs must be converted and drives must be sustained to keep the pats offense off the field. If this team can chew up clock and put points up after long drives it will force the pats to be more aggressive and less dink and dunk which should play into our favour more if we can have the rush hit home.
    Can’t have any dropped passes and miscommunications like last time either.

  • NCSteel

    Very well said.

  • NCSteel

    Exactly what I mean. It can be done I guess but the Steelers are not “clearly the better team”.
    They’re gonna need they’re A game along with well disguised blitzes and general mayhem from the defenses.

  • NCSteel

    Yes, I mean a lot if this is obvious but seriously, mistake free on offense, opportunistic on defense with pressure coming from everywhere. Sort of like my life. LOL