Week 15 of the 2018 NFL season continues with just two late afternoon games.
The best of the two games features the New England Patriots going on the road to face the Pittsburgh Steelers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Patriots have been the Steelers’ kryptonite in the Brady/Belichick era, but perhaps today will be different. This Patriots team does not appear to be quite as strong as most of the Patriots teams of the last decade or so. The 9-4 Patriots have struggled on the road this year, with a 3-4 record outside of Foxboro. The Patriots offense is not as lethal as it has been in the past, Tom Brady is not quite what he once was, and the Patriots defense is nobody’s idea of ferocious. This Patriots team is eminently beatable on the road. Unfortunately for the Steelers, they may not be the team to do it.
The 7-5-1 Steelers are also not quite what they have been for most of the last decade. Home games for the Steelers have traditionally been a big advantage for the men in black and gold, but this year, not so much. The Steelers are just 3-3 at home in 2018. They badly need this game, as the Steelers are in danger of missing out on the playoffs altogether despite currently residing in first place in the AFC North. But this Steelers team just isn’t all that good. The major problem has been turnovers; the Steelers rank 25th in the NFL in both offensive turnovers and defensive turnovers. This has turned a team ranked in the top eight in both offensive yards and defensive yards allowed into a mediocre team fighting for their playoff lives. If the Steelers can play mistake free ball today we might see the rare sight of Pittsburgh beating up the Patriots. If the turnover bug continues to plague the Steelers however, look for the Patriots to annoyingly move a major step closer to once again having a first round bye in the playoffs.
In the other late game the 8-5 Seattle Seahawks make the short trip down the left coast to play the 3-10 San Francisco 49ers. The Seahawks have been surging of late, winners of four straight to move into prime position for a NFC wild card berth. However, the Seahawks have been beatable on the road this year, with a 4-3 record away from Seattle. Jets fans will be rooting for the 49ers to pull off a big upset in this one, as a 49ers win would improve the Jets draft position.
Enjoy the games everybody. Use this thread to comment on whichever late afternoon games catch your fancy.