What you need to know before Sunday’s Patriots-Steelers game

Malcolm Butler Antonio Brown Patriots Steelers
Antonio Brown lines up against cornerback Malcolm Butler during the first half of a game in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Oct. 23, 2016. –AP Photo/Jared Wickerham

Patriots (10-3) at Steelers (11-2)

Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS

Opening line: Patriots by 2 1/2

Record vs. spread: Patriots 8-5, Steelers 6-7

Series record: Tied 15-15.

Last meeting: Patriots beat Steelers 36-17, Jan. 22 for AFC championship

Last week: Patriots lost to Dolphins 27-20; Steelers beat Ravens 39-38

AP Pro32 ranking: Patriots No. 3, Steelers No. 1

Patriots offense: Overall (2), rush (15), pass (1)

Patriots defense: Overall (29), rush (24), pass (29)

Steelers offense: Overall (4), rush (23), pass (2)

Steelers defense: Overall (5), rush (9), pass (4)

Streaks, stats, and notes

New England Patriots

  • Winner has inside track on home-field advantage throughout AFC playoffs.
  • Patriots can clinch ninth consecutive AFC East title with win or tie and Buffalo loss or tie.
  • New England saw eight-game winning streak end last week against Miami.
  • New England has won each of last four meetings by average of 15.3 points.
  • Tom Brady is 7-2 all-time against Steelers, with 24 touchdowns and three interceptions.
  • Brady leads the NFL in passing yards (3,865) and quarterback rating (105.2).
  • Rob Gronkowski is averaging 99.2 yards receiving and has eight touchdowns in five career games against the Steelers. Gronk will be returning from a one-game suspension.
  • James White has 12 receiving touchdowns since 2015, most among NFL running backs.
  • New England defense allowed 300 yards passing in each of first six games. It has not allowed an opposing quarterback more than 263 yards in seven games since.

Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Steelers wrapped up second straight AFC North title against Ravens.
  • Pittsburgh has won eight straight games, which is the team’s longest winning streak since 2004 (15 games).
  • Pittsburgh is 16-1 in last 17 December games dating back to 2013.
  • Ben Roethlisberger threw for 506 yards against the Ravens, becoming the first quarterback in NFL history to go over 500 passing yards in a single game three times.
  • Antonio Brown leads the NFL in receptions (99) and receiving yards (1,509). Brown is tied for second in touchdowns receptions (9).
  • Brown is one reception shy of becoming first player with five straight 100-catch seasons.
  • Le’Veon Bell leads the NFL in rushing attempts (283), rushing yards (1,105) and touches (358).
  • Kicker Chris Boswell has made four winning kicks this season, including each of the team’s last three games. Boswell’s 32 field goals this season third most in team history.
  • Steelers are second in the league in sacks (41). Patriots have allowed 29 sacks.
  • Fantasy tip: Hard to go against Brady against Steelers. Pittsburgh’s pass defense is susceptible to big plays. The Steelers have allowed 10 completions over 40 yards this season, which is tied for fourth most in NFL.

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