The Patriots continue their roadtrip as they get ready to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field this Sunday. The two teams will square off for the fifth time in five seasons with a matchup featuring many storylines that will ensure that this week's contest is one of the most anticipated games of the year. Eric McHugh of the Patriot Ledger offers a preview of the game and explores the matchups.
Jerome Solomon of the Boston Globe writes that coaches Bill Belichick of the Patriots and Bill Cowher of the Pittsburgh Steelers both spoke highly of the opposing team. "The first thing we're going to have to do is just find a way to stay competitive in the game because these have been over by halftime," Belichick said. Steelers head coach Bill Cowher offered a very similar comment as he said "We have to be on top of our game to even have a chance to compete with them."
Corey Dillon and the Patriots running attack is off to one of the worst starts statistically. The Patriots will need to show they can get the running game going if they are to get back to the balanced offense that has been so successful in past years. "I think my frustrated days are over. I'm too old to be frustrated. All I can do is work to get better,'' Dillon said. "I think I've been tested for situations like this. I'm not going to say it's not a concern, but it's not the end of the world. I know it's going to get better. As long as I have that feeling, I'm not too concerned. All I can do is do my job and try to help the team get better. And that's what I'm going to do." A report on Corey Dillon and the Patriots running attack is offered by Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald, Jackie MacMullan of the Boston Globe, *Tom Curran of the *Providence Journal *and Chris Kennedy of *The Republican.
The Patriots run defense will face a big test this week against Steelers running back Willie Parker. The Steelers are currently ranked #1 as the top rushing team in the AFC. Tom Curran of the Providence Journal writes that in the Steelers season opener, he ran for 161 yards on 22 carries against Tennessee. Against the Texans, Parker ran for 111 yards on 25 carries. "First of all, he is fast," Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said of the 5-foot-10, 209-pound Parker. "Very fast. He takes a lot of plays . . . then just accelerates away from linebackers, defensive linemen, safeties and turns a 5 or 6-yard play into a 40 or 50-yarder." Now it's the Patriots' turn to deal with Parker.
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has played a big part in the teams success. He's 15-0 in the regular season and 16-1 overall as an NFL starter. Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald writes that after two games, Roethlisberger has a QB rating of 153.6, which is just short of a perfect 158.3. He went 9-for-11 for 218 yards and two touchdowns in the season opener against Tennessee to hit the magic 158.3, and followed that up Sunday by completing 14-of-21 passes for 254 yards and a pair of touchdowns against Houston.
Tom Curran of the Providence Journal offers his daily sports blog with Patriots notes and commentary.