Is beating the Patriots more important to Steeler fans than beating the Ravens?


The past 7 years have been very successful for the Steelers.  Except for when it comes to playing the Patriots.  It’s killing me to admit this but Pretty Boy Brady and the Pats have owned the Steelers the past 7 years.  Fortunately, when it comes to playoff time, the Steelers haven’t had to deal with the Patriots en route to their past 3 Super Bowl trips.  In 2006 the Patriots lost at home to the Denver Broncos in the divisional round, in 2009 the Patriots missed the playoffs completely, and last year the Pats lost at home to the Jets.  When it comes to regular season matchups, the Patriots have completely dominated the Steelers since that one fateful Halloween afternoon of 2004 where the Steelers snapped the Patriots 21 game win streak.  Then, as we all know, Belicheat took his video footage of that game to completely destroy the Steelers in the AFC title game and they’ve manhandled us ever since.  So, Steeler Nation, do we want revenge against the Patriots more than Baltimore?

Don’t get it twisted; a trip to this year’s playoffs isn’t possible without winning the division.  Well, it’s not completely impossible, but highly unlikely.  Baltimore is our hated division rivals, and they handed our asses to us in Week 1.  Sure the Patriots are in our conference, and stacking conference wins is important, but not more important that divisional wins.  Even though it is only Week 8, this week has a playoff like atmosphere to it.  Every year, no matter how many years before the Patriots have failed to even win a playoff game, they are considered the team to beat in the AFC.  In the NFL, a team’s most important game is always the next one up.  Ideally, the Steelers take down the Patriots and exact revenge on the Ratbirds in consecutive weeks leaving them the undisputed team to beat in the AFC.  Without question, Baltimore is the more important game, but let’s face it, the fans especially want to see the Steelers take down Pretty Boy Brady and the Pats so bad we can taste it.

I don’t know about you but I’m still bitter about that 2004 AFC Championship game.  As James Harrison explained in his infamous Men’s Journal article this summer, he seems to be still bitter too.  Unfortunately, Harrison is still out for this game recovering from his eye surgery.  After that game I was ridiculous.  I mean slamming doors, temper tantrums, refusing to speak, full-on acting like a baby.  The Steelers dominated the Pats earlier in the year on their way to a 15-1 record and things couldn’t have looked any better for them to make it to the Super Bowl.  During the swept-under-the-rug by Goodell “Spygate” controversy, it came out that the Patriots had used illegally obtained video footage for that particular game.  There’s no way to know just what was used, however, because in Goodell’s infinite wisdom, all the evidence from “Spygate” was destroyed.  Since then the Patriots have played suspiciously bad against opponents they previously played the same season, for example the Jets last year.  Intriguing isn’t it?  Still, it isn’t productive, or very healthy to hold onto one game with so much bitterness.  The Steelers have gone on to win 2 Super Bowls and appear in another Super Bowl while the Patriots have had much less success.

Last year the Patriots came into Heinz Field and dominated in a 39-26 win that wasn’t even as close as that score might suggest.  The Steelers had only 3 points going into the 4th quarter of the game, and Brady had carved up the Steelers defense like a Thanksgiving turkey.  No one besides Ben has had the kind of success at Heinz Field that Brady has had.  This is something that kills Steeler fans.  We know the Steelers can beat Baltimore; we’ve beaten them when it counts consistently.  But when it comes to the Patriots, the Steelers not only come up short, they have been completely controlled.  This is a rivalry game without it being an actual rival.

There’s nothing I like about the Patriots.  From their cheating, weasel looking, hoodie wearing head coach, to their arrogant and annoying former players turned NFL analysts, I hate the whole damned Brady Bunch.  This season the Patriots acquired Ochocinco from the Bungles, which isn’t necessarily something to worry about considering the fact that Ocho has never put up good numbers against the Steelers and so far this season has been a waste of time as he struggles to learn the complexity that is the Patriots offense.  I’m not worried about Ocho in the least bit.  Brady could throw to him all day if he wants, chances are Chad will either run the wrong route or drop the pass anyway.  As much as I hate the Patriots though, I hate the Ravens even more.

What I am worried about is Welker, Gronkowski, and their running game.  Brady ended last year’s game against the Steelers without being sacked once.  Also worrying me is the fact that the Patriots have had 2 weeks to prepare for this game coming off of their bye week.  I’d like to see Woodley continue his streak of multiple sacks as well as Polamalu getting the interception that has eluded him so far this season.  The key to winning this game is to jump ahead with a lead early.  Fall behind against the Patriots and you’re pretty much done for.  I think this is the perfect game for Roethlisberger and Wallace to connect on some more 40+ yard touchdown passes.

So does the Patriots game mean more than Baltimore?  Maybe if the Steelers hadn’t got shellacked in the opening week by the Ratbirds it could mean more.  But the Steelers can get to the Super Bowl without beating the Patriots, it’s been done.  If I had to pick which game was more important to win, I’d have to pick Baltimore without hesitation.  But I don’t have to pick, the Steelers are capable of handing losses to both New England and Baltimore and I believe they will.  Go Steelers!

Follow me on Twitter @Kimmy_KimKimM