Every week leading up to the Patriots' next game, Tedy Bruschi and Mike Reiss dissect the action in "Bruschi's Breakdown." This week's piece has been posted on ESPNBoston.com, and Bruschi envisions an edge for the Patriots with tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez.
"It’s all about matchups [and] I wonder how the Steelers will deal with the Rob Gronkowski/Aaron Hernandez matchup," he says. "I think [Troy] Polamalu is a spectacular player, but the edge has to go to the athletic tight ends in terms of coverage. Gronkowski had a big day against the Steelers last year (5 catches, 72 yards, 3 touchdowns), and with Hernandez no longer on the injury report he’ll be a huge option. Anticipate multiple formations from the Patriots."
Meanwhile, there are few secrets when it comes to the Steelers' offense.
"This is a passing team, if you ask me," Bruschi says. "They try to re-establish the running game, but with the inconsistency along the offensive line, it’s been tough. Last week against the Cardinals, they used their seventh offensive line combination. When you have that, it’s hard to have a pound-it type of mentality. The other thing to factor is that [Ben] Roethlisberger is pushing for a little more hurry-up, as he feels comfortable with it. Maybe they get to it this week against a Patriots’ defense that has been up and down vs. the pass."