PITTS­BURGH over New Eng­land by 3

Playbook Football (Midweek Alert) - - 2-minute Handicap -

Here we go. The de­fend­ing cham­pion Pa­tri­ots face off with the team they beat in last year’s AFC Cham­pi­onship game – and cur­rently one of the few teams in the AFC that can chal­lenge the Brady Bunch: the Pitts­burgh Steel­ers. Forget about Mi­ami’s up­set of New Eng­land last Mon­day night – the Pats have found noth­ing but trou­ble in South Beach for some time now, win­ning only once in their last five trips to Hard Rock Sta­dium. This is for the No. 1 seed in the AFC play­offs, with home field ad­van­tage through­out. Bill Belichick’s troops will be ex­pected to bounce back from the Dol­phins de­ba­cle and they know how to win on the road, go­ing 13-1 SU and 11-3 ATS since last sea­son. How­ever, NONE of those wins came over foes own­ing a win per­cent­age of greater-than .666, and the fact of the mat­ter is New Eng­land is just 4-10 SU and 5-9 ATS away against greater than .666 op­po­si­tion since 2009, in­clud­ing 2-7 SUATS against aveng­ing foes. Steel­ers QB Ben Roeth­lis­berger has hit his stride lately, throw­ing 12 touch­down passes and only 3 INTs over Pitts­burgh’s last four games. And Big Ben’s 506-yard per­for­mance against Baltimore last Sun­day made him the only QB in NFL his­tory with three 500-yard pass­ing games. He’s also a su­per 6-1 SUATS as a dog of less than 10 points, and the Steel­ers are 7-2 SU and 8-1 ATS as home dogs af­ter sur­ren­der­ing more than 30 points. With no-non­sense HC Mike Tom­lin now 11-3-1 ATS as a dog with Pitts­burgh dur­ing the sec­ond half of the sea­son – and his team rid­ing a 8-game SU win streak – we’ll side with the Steel City crew in this huge pay­back.

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