Things don't get easier for Steelers

After a physical match-up that came down to the wire against the Cincinnati Bengals, things don't get any easier for the Steelers as they host the 6-2 New England Patriots this week at Heinz Field.

"We are playing a good football team in New England," said Coach Mike Tomlin. "It starts with their quarterback, Tom Brady who can really spread the ball around to a bunch of people. They are capable of working exclusively out of a no-huddle offense or huddling if they choose. I think last week they worked exclusively out of no huddle. They spread the ball around to a bunch of different people."

Among the weapons Brady has are Deion Branch, Brandon Tate and Wes Welker, who will definitely be on the Steelers radar.

"Wes Welker is the best in the business inside," said Tomlin. "I think that's well documented. We're going to have our hands full there. Guys like William Gay and others are going to try to slow him down, particularly on possession downs. Some of the things they do with him are run game alternatives. We got to be good against this guy because he's one of the best."

The Patriots are coming off a 34-14 loss at Cleveland and Tomlin expects to see a team ready to go to battle on Sunday.

"Coach Belichick and company will always be well-prepared," said Tomlin "They will put together a good schematic plan. They will come in here ready to play, particularly so after last week's performance. They will be excited about getting out and playing again. As will we.

"We recognize this is a big game for us. It's great to be back at home again in front of our home fans. The road has been tough, but that is what the road is. We pushed through that stretch. Not like we would like ideally, but we'll take it and be back at home this week in front of the Steelers Nation."

 For the second time in three weeks the Steelers will be facing a team that was upset by the Cleveland Browns, and looking to rebound strong. The Browns beat the New Orleans Saints, and the following week the Saints defeated the Steelers.

The strong performances by the 3-5 Browns do not surprise Tomlin at all.

"I don't know why everyone is so surprised that Cleveland plays well," said Tomlin. "They have a back that will hurt you really bad. They are always good schematically defensively with their packages and the way they are capable of getting after you. If they completely manage third downs, they have a chance to beat you. That is what the tape showed, not only in the instance of New Orleans, but also New England."

The Steelers held the Bengals to just 64 yards rushing on Monday night, becoming the first team in NFL history to hold its opponents to 75 or fewer rushing yards in each of their first eight games of a season. 

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