PITTSBURGH, Pa. – Since 2004, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s rookie season, the Patriots or Steelers have reached the AFC title game every season but one (2009). Sunday’s game between New England and Pittsburgh could determine whether or not the Steelers will have a shot at the playoffs, muchless the AFC Championship Game.
At 4:25 p.m., in a game to be broadcast live on News 3 in Hampton Roads, Pittsburgh (7-5-and-1) hosts New England (9-and-4). The Steelers are seeking their first win against the Patriots in the regular-season series since Oct. 30, 2011. New England will earn its 10th win of the season with a victory, tying San Francisco (1983-98) for the most consecutive seasons with at least 10 wins with 16.
Pittsburgh leads Baltimore by one-half game in the AFC North division standings. The Ravens (7-and-6) are eight point favorites Sunday at home vs. Tampa Bay. Should the Steelers lose and Baltimore win, Pittsburgh would fall from first place in the division and with a road game at New Orleans looming next Sunday – the Steelers’ playoff hopes would very much be in jeopardy.
Meanwhile, if the Patriots defeat Pittsburgh and the Titans lose to the Giants or tie, New England will become the first franchise in NFL history to earn a playoff berth in 10 consecutive seasons.
A rematch of the 2016 AFC Championship, this week’s New England/Pittsburgh matchup will be the 32nd meeting overall and the fourth straight year the two teams will play in the regular season. Pittsburgh leads the regular season series by a 14-12 margin, while New England leads 4-1 in the postseason.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has played against Pittsburgh 10 times in the regular season and three times in the postseason. He owns an 8-and-2 regular-season record and a 3-and-0 postseason record after three AFC Championship wins against Pittsburgh during the 2001, 04 and 16 seasons.