The Steelers and the Patriots experienced much different Week 1s as it relates to turnovers.
Pittsburgh had five more takeaways than the Cincinnati Bengals last weekend, a big reason why Mike Tomlin’s team was able to score an upset win over the reigning AFC champions. New England, meanwhile, surrendered three turnovers at Hard Rock Stadium, where the Miami Dolphins played giveaway-free football in a two-touchdown win over Mac Jones and company.
The Steelers and the Patriots are set to meet Sunday at Acrisure Stadium for a battle of two teams that likely will be fighting for one of the three conference Wild Card spots. ESPN’s Mike Reiss believes the sides’ respective turnover fortune will be flipped following the NFL’s season-opening slate.
“The Patriots will have a positive turnover differential,” Reiss predicted in a column published Friday. “On paper, this looks like a mismatch, with the Steelers at plus-five after the opener and the Patriots at minus-3. But a closer look at the Steelers’ opening win showed that quarterback Mitch Trubisky played it conservatively with an early lead and wasn’t forced into many compromising situations. When he was, the results were uneven. That foreshadows the potential for a Patriots defense that was in position to create turnovers last week (but couldn’t close the deal) to experience better results in Week 2.”
New England’s defense might need to force the issue and try to be ballhawks in Pittsburgh. Last Sunday’s showing in South Beach suggested the Patriots’ offense can use all of the help it can get.