Focal point: Staley vs. Patriots run D
Our experts debate the matchup between Duce Staley and the Patriots' run defense.
Patriots run defense vs. Duce Staley
Patriots at Steelers, 4:15 p.m. ET, CBS
Who will get the best of this matchup? Click here to vote!
|Duce Staley vs. Patriots run defense|
By Sean Salisbury
As always the Patriots are going to be excellently coached this week by Bill Belichick and Romeo Crennel. Both do a wonderful job creating mismatches and opportunities for their defense to exploit. This week they face an excellent running back in Pittsburgh's Duce Staley. Staley is having a great season and has shown a knack for running between the tackles and utilizing his excellent offensive line.
That line is going to create a bigger problem for the Patriots defense than Staley will. It plays very physically and has been blowing people off the line of scrimmage. In turn, Staley has done an excellent job taking advantage of the holes that were created by the line. But this week the Steelers are facing an equally impressive defense.
The Pats will win this matchup because Crennel and Belichick will put them in the right positions. There's no doubt in my mind that the Patriots players are in the film room studying and seeing what weaknesses they can exploit. If there are any they will find them and use their run blitz to go get 'em.
By Mark Schlereth
Duce Staley has put together an impressive season after signing with the Steelers in the offseason. He's rushed for 582 yards and a 4.6-yard average as he's established himself as one of the best free agent pickups of the offseason. This week he's playing on an injured ankle, which is going to slow him down a little bit, but I don't think it's going to hinder his ability to help his team.
One major reason why Staley will have a big game is the play of the big guys in front of him. This Steelers offensive line is playing excellent football. The guys are healthy and playing completely in unison and that's the key to a great offensive line. These guys know what the other one is going to do and know each other's strengths and weaknesses. Last season they were plagued with injuries and unrest and it hurt the team. This season they haven't had to face those problems and it shows in their production.
Watch for Staley to get daylight and big yards because of his line. This line is more physical than any the Patriots have faced and will have its way with them.
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