Two of the AFC’s premier teams went down in ugly fashion in Week 14.
The New England Patriots fell to the Dolphins in a stunner, as Miami executed a lateral sequence straight out of the schoolyard to notch a last-second win. The Pittsburgh Steelers, on the other hand, were tabbed with a loss to the lowly Oakland Raiders after whiffing on a potential game-tying field goal.
As such, Sunday’s matchup between the Patriots and Steelers at Heinz Field becomes all the more important. A win would go a long way for New England in its quest to secure a first-round playoff bye, while the Baltimore Ravens are nipping at Pittsburgh’s heels for the top spot in the AFC North.
Although both teams will be tasked with rebounding from bad defeats, Shannon Sharpe likes the Patriots’ chances of getting back in the win column more than the Steelers’. And for the “Undisputed” co-host, his reasoning is based on much more than talent.
You can say a lot of things about Patriots teams throughout the Bill Belichick-Tom Brady era, but no one can deny that each squad has had guts. The Steelers, meanwhile, have become no strangers to underperforming under Mike Tomlin’s watch, and the drama never seems to stop in Pittsburgh.
Sunday’s contest will tell a lot about both teams, and given the nature of the AFC playoff picture, it could end up being a season-defining matchup.