Patriots know Troy Polamalu of Steelers is an instinctive player

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To get a feel for how instinctive Troy Polamalu can be, visit YouTube and find clips of the Steelers safety judging the opposing team’s snap count perfectly and flying over the lines and into the quarterback a split-second after the ball gets hiked.

When game planning for a difference-maker such as Polamalu, it would be easier if teams had some idea where he’ll be lining up or what his role might be. But when it comes to the 32-year-old, known for his hair and seven trips to the Pro Bowl, that’s rarely the case.

Polamalu’s flair for free-styling hasn’t necessarily helped the Steelers this season; they’re 2-5 heading into Sunday’s game at Gillette Stadium, in last place in the AFC North.

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