It's the Championship game, and the Champs get ready to defend their title and their honor

 1/23/05


Heinz Field, home of the 2005 Championship game

 

 

Patriots

Crews work to clear the snow for the big game

 

 

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Tom Brady gets some throws in during Patriots practice on Thursday in Foxborough.

Brady prepares for the Steelers D

 

 

Bill Belichick is bundled up for the weather as the team practices outdoors on Thursday.

Best coach ever?

 

 

 

It's Championship Sunday and the World Champion New England Patriots are in Pittsburgh to play. This game has so much on the line for both teams, the right to go to the Super Bowl. But for the Patriots there is one more thing on the line, defending their honor, as this Pittsburgh team was the only team to dominate the Patriots since the first game of last season when the Bills did it last. Since the Bills embarrassed this team, the Patriots have gone on to set the NFL record for wins in a row, among other records, oh and they won a Super Bowl, their second in three years. I guess the Bills ticked them off. Now they have a chance for revenge on the the team that embarrassed them this year, and if they do so, they could go on to win their third Super Bowl in four years. I like their chances, because I think the Steelers ticked them off.

There is much talk about how Corey Dillon missed the first game of this match up, but the Steelers and their supporters say that the Patriots got beat in the trenches, and that they will beat us again. I do admit that the Steelers were more physical and did beat us in that first game, but I think that this is what ticks off the Patriots. They got tossed around and beaten like a rented mule, nothing to do with the lack of Dillon. But both Dillon, and those players that got man handled, are here to prove something, they are ticked off. The Patriots will be ready to go in this one, and while the Steelers are a tough team, the Patriots are going to play tough too. The Steelers caught the Champions napping last time, and down 6 players, this time will be different, in my opinion. 

Let's look at the other players that missed the last game, Dillon being the obvious one. With a real running threat, and a running back motivated by 7 years of non-playoff ball in Cincy, the return of Dillon is a huge plus. But there was another offensive player that missed the last game that I think is very key. WR Branch, who has become Brady's go to receiver was also out for that game, and since his return has helped the passing game of the Patriots. Branch is a guy that Brady is comfortable with, and he knows how to get open and can make the tough catches. He is a clutch receiver, who makes big plays at big times during the game. 

On defense, Richard Seymour may be able to play some today, but even bigger is the seasoning of this young secondary, since the last time they played. Law went down in that first game, and the Patriots had to replace him on the fly. That lead to some big mismatches that the Steelers went to twice. That young secondary has since gone 8-1, improving with every week, and Belichick has been able to design a defense, without Law in the mix. The latest game, where that secondary shut down Manning and all of his great receivers is the proof that this secondary is in much better shape than they were during that last game in Pittsburgh.

Most importantly today will be the turnovers. The Patriots gave Pitt the ball twice with good field position and once for a TD. Today should be different, with a veteran team taking on a team lead by a rookie, impressive as he has been, a rookie nevertheless. The Patriots don't make those mistakes in big games, and the Steelers have shown that they do. Neither team can afford more than one big mistake, and they both know it. I'll take the Patriots under that kind of pressure any day over the Steelers.

I like this game to go to the Patriots 27-17, but at the end of the day nothing I say matters. Pittsburgh and New England are both good teams who play tough. They are both throwbacks to the golden days of the NFL, and they both have accomplished some great things this season. I like my team to edge out their team, but only time will tell, and it's time to let them play it out. 

It should be a great AFC Championship game, I hope to see you at What's on Second, and stop back here and leave us a message after the game. 

Go Patriots and God Bless!!

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