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Steelers-Patriots Pregame Primer: Key to Win, Picks, Bold Prediction and More

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The Pittsburgh Steelers are at home to open the home slate of the 2022 regular season against the New England Patriots, and here’s the Steelers Now pregame primer.

Gameday: Steelers vs. Patriots, 1 p.m.

KEY TO VICTORY

Things did not go well for the New England offense in its season opening a loss to the Miami Dolphins. The three-headed monster of Bill Belichick, Joe Judge and Matt Patricia does not seem to working very well as a combined offensive brain trust for the Pats.

The one thing that seem to work last week was running the ball with Damien Harris. Harris averages 5.3 yards per carry, and the Steeler ls struggled to stop the run all of last season.

Steelers outside linebacker TJ Watt is obviously best known as a pass rusher, but the team has other ways to bring pressure with more defensive lineman, exotic blitzes and backup Malik Reed.

I think the best way for the Patriots to attack the Steelers defense it’s a run right at it, and so the top key to victory for the Steelers will be stopping the run and putting Jones in uncomfortable down and distance positions as a result.

BOLD PREDICTION: GEORGE PICKENS GETS INVOLVED

The Steelers did not get rookie wide receiver George Pickens very involved in the offense in the opener. Part of that was the fact of the team was up from the very beginning, and a downfield passing game wasn’t really needed.

It seems unlikely that the Steelers will run an entire second game without trailing. If they get behind, Pickens could be the big play thread they need to get back into a game.

I’ll predict that Pickens has at least one catch for 25 yards or greater and a touchdown.

OVERLOOKED MATCHUP: ALEX HIGHSMITH vs TRENT BROWN

With one absent on the left side of the Steelers defense, most of the attention will undoubtedly be on that side of the line battle. But the Steelers may have an advantage on the opposite side, where Alex Highsmith will face veteran Trent Brown.

Highsmith was a monster in the Steelers’ first game against the Cincinnati Bengals, coming back with three sacks, or half of his 2021 production. Brown on the other hand has struggled throughout the 2021 preseason and had a miserable day and the opener against the Miami Dolphins, getting Jones injured on one play.

The Steelers will probably blitz more without Watt available, but if they want to get pressure with four rushers at all, Highsmith needs to win this matchup.

PICK IT

Pittsburgh +3 (-115)

Under 40.5 (-115)

Najee Harris Under 48.5 Rushing Yds

Last week (1-2, -1.15 units): W Pittsburgh +7.5 (-118), L Over 44.5, L Mitchell Trubisky Over 1.5 Passing TD (+150)

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