Here’s what you need to know before the Patriots-Steelers game Sunday

New England could clinch their 10th straight AFC East title.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is shown during the first quarter against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium on December 9, 2018 in Miami, Florida.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is shown during the first quarter against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium on December 9, 2018 in Miami, Florida. –Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Patriots (9-4) at Steelers (7-5-1)

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

Opening line — Steelers by 1; Patriots later favored by 1½

Record vs. spread — Patriots 8-5, Steelers 6-6-1

Series record — Patriots lead 16-15

Last meeting — Patriots beat Steelers 27-24, Dec. 17, 2017

Last week — Patriots lost to Dolphins 34-33; Steelers lost to Raiders 24-21.

AP Pro32 Ranking — Patriots No. 5, Steelers No. 10

Patriots offense — Overall  (5), Rush (16), Pass (7).

Patriots defense — Overall (22), Rush (15), Pass (23).

Steelers offense — Overall (4), Rush (29), Pass (2).

Steelers defense — Overall (7), Rush (6), Pass (12).

Streaks, stats and notes

-Patriots have won last five meetings.


-Pittsburgh TE Jesse James’ apparent go-ahead touchdown with 29 seconds was overturned on review. Officials ruled catch did not “survive the ground.” James jostled it after stretching across goal line. League amended rule in offseason to allow some movement by ball if receiver maintains possession.


-Steelers lead AFC North but have dropped three straight since 7-2-1 start. Three losses by a combined 13 points.

-Roethlisberger expected to play despite bruised ribs suffered last week vs. Oakland.

-Roethlisberger second in NFL in yards passing (4,227).

-Steelers RB James Conner (ankle) could return after sitting out last week.

-Pittsburgh 10-2 at Heinz Field in December since 2013. One of losses was last year’s setback to Patriots. Other came two weeks ago to Los Angeles Chargers.

-Steelers K Chris Boswell’s 11 combined missed kicks (six field goals, five extra points) most by active kicker in NFL.

-Pittsburgh WR JuJu Smith-Schuster sixth in NFL in receptions (91), fourth in yards receiving (1,234). Teammate Antonio Brown has led team in both categories every year since 2013.


-New England can clinch 10th straight AFC East title with win or tie and Miami loss or tie vs. Minnesota.

-Victory would give Patriots 10 on season for 16th straight year, tying NFL record held by San Francisco (1983-98).

-Playoff berth would be 17th for coach Bill Belichick, third all-time behind Don Shula (19), Tom Landry (18).

-Patriots’ visit to Heinz Field last fall ended with Ben Roethlisberger interception in end zone with 5 seconds remaining.

-New England QB Tom Brady 11-2 all-time against Steelers including playoffs. Brady has thrown 30 touchdowns against Steelers against four interceptions.


-Brady will start 265th game, tied with Peyton Manning for second all-time by quarterback.

-Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski needs 164 yards receiving to move into top five all-time among NFL tight ends.

-Patriots RB Sony Michel’s three 100-yard rushing games most by New England rookie since 1998 (Robert Edwards).

-New England posted season-high five sacks last week vs. Dolphins.

Fantasy tip: Gronkowski feasts on Pittsburgh’s defense. He’s averaging 110.7 yards receiving in six regular-season games vs. Steelers, including nine-reception, 168-yard performance last year.