It’s not a great Week 8 in terms of good NFL matchups as there is only one game that features two teams with winning records. But that one is a doozy: New England at Pittsburgh in a matchup of division leaders and the teams with the two best records in the AFC. The Patriots opened as 3-point favorites on Bodog’s NFL odds.
It goes without saying that these two teams could very well meet in the AFC title game, so a win here could be a huge potential tiebreaker for home-field advantage in that game. We also get to see Tom Brady and the NFL’s No. 1 total and passing offense against the NFL’s No. 1 pass defense and second-ranked overall unit.
Brady is on pace to throw for nearly 5,800 yards and shatter Dan Marino’s NFL single-season record, and top target Wes Welker already has 51 catches and 785 yards receiving and on pace to become the first player with 2,000 receiving yards. However, did the Cowboys give the NFL a blueprint how to slow the Pats? New England, which enters off a bye, beat the Cowboys two weeks ago 20-16. The Patriots, whose streak of 30-point regular-season games ended at 13 straight, were outgained by Dallas and Brady was held under 300 yards passing for and threw two picks. Welker had a quiet six catches for 45 yards, although he did have a touchdown.
The Steelers are on a three-game winning streak, playing arguably their best offensive game of the year in last week’s 32-20 win at Arizona. Pittsburgh put up 445 yard of total offense, with Ben Roethlisberger throwing for 361, three TDs and no picks. Two Steeler receivers had at least 100 yards receiving, including Mike Wallace, who had a team-record 95-yard TD catch. Hines Ward sprained an ankle in that game but is expected to play here.
These two faced off last year, also in Pittsburgh. New England won in a shootout, 39-26, behind Brady’s 350 yards and three TDs. The Pats are 4-1 all-time at Heinz Field and Brady is 6-1 vs. Pittsburgh in his career with 14 TD passes and only three picks. The road team has covered in four of the past five meetings.