Third-down defense an ongoing concern for team — PATRIOTS NOTEBOOK

Third-down defense an ongoing concern for team — PATRIOTS NOTEBOOK

I hate close games against teams like the Patriots, but I think that Jones has a solid-if not spectacular outing, the defense makes some splash plays and a late Chris Boswell field goal could be the difference in favor of the Steelers today.

Appearing on an episode of Coordinators' Corner on, Butler said the Pats offense does things that "might be on the edge of being legal". Not after the talented but enigmatic Blount walked off the field and ostensibly out of a job when he headed to the locker room with time still on the clock during a Monday night win in Tennessee later that year, a silent protest for a lack of touches on a night Bell ran for 204 yards.

But the Patriots in general, and Brady in particular, seem to be a kind of Kryptonite for the men in black & gold.

Jets fans sardonically take credit for Brady's career, while also lamenting it. The only real question mark is running back Brandon Bolden, who was held out of practice on Friday with a knee injury. With Landry Jones taking snaps under center, Brown goes from a No. 1 overall fantasy option to immediately being matchup dependent on when you start him, if you are an owner with a strong roster of receivers. There's good reason for that. That's a 140.3 passer rating. Considering Jones likely will be in more of a game manager role, the Steelers' offensive success this week will be contingent upon Le'Veon Bell's impact. What do I mean by that?

Squad moves: The Patriots signed linebacker Trevor Reilly to the practice squad and released wide receiver Shaquelle Evans.

KEYS TO THE GAMEThe big play: In limited action a year ago, Landry Jones was rather inefficient, completing just 58.2 percent of his passes. Gronk was dealing with an injury, as well, but he was a non-factor.

Bills RB McCoy a game-time decision: A person with direct knowledge of LeSean McCoy's hamstring injury tells The Associated Press the Bills running back will be considered "a game-time decision" on Sunday, when Buffalo plays at Miami. But this is a game where the Steelers could lean heavily on Bell as a traditional halfback. Defensively, the Steelers are yielding 20.5 points and 394.8 total yards (293.7 in passing and 101.2 in rushing) per game against the opposing teams.

No. 10 Wisconsin can focus now on Big 10 West, needs help
The Buckeyes then completed the comeback victory in the extra frame on Barrett's touchdown pass to Brown and the defensive stand. Hill of the Ohio State Buckeyes makes the catch and runs upfield with against the Wisconsin Badgers on Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016.

That's not quite Bradyesque, but it's pretty good.

"I wouldn't bet being (ranked) 27 you'll win many games on third down", McCourty said. "They do play really well at home", Long said.

The Patriots haven't forced a lot of turnovers this season. They're just too undependable for me.

The Steelers' defense can assert themselves once again as a pass rushing threat if they are able to put Brady in position to where he must put himself out of the pocket. They haven't thrown an interception this season - incredible, actually since Brady missed the first four games - and have lost four fumbles.

You know the rest: six Super Bowl appearances, four wins, Brady's face on the mythical Mt. Rushmore. And opposing quarterbacks have an 89.9 passer rating against the Patriots. Brown is the Steelers' most explosive weapon, and he has zero touchdowns without Big Ben at quarterback. "Clearly, coming off a hard loss in Detroit, and then leaving nearly immediately after the game for here was a challenge for us", Rams coach Jeff Fisher says. But don't buy that for a second. They don't mind embarrassing an opponent.

The Steelers are 9-point underdog in this game, so obviously Las Vegas isn't buying any of these arguments.