Patriots-Steelers matchup of the day: Tuesday

Posted Nov. 09, 2010 @ 6:14 p.m.
Posted By Kevin Fishbain

Here's a matchup to watch in the Week 10 game between the Patriots and Steelers:

Patriots NT Vince Wilfork vs. Steelers C Maurkice Pouncey

Wilfork has moved around a lot this season, playing nose tackle as well as end. He played the nose in Week Eight and then went back to the end spot in Week Nine, but expect him to play some snaps on Sunday night against the impressive rookies.

Pouncey, who won the starting spot in the preseason, has impressed everyone around the league, playing a tough position and snapping to three different quarterbacks. "He's shown that he can compete at this level — no question about that — and I think he's getting better," said Patriots head coach Bill Belichick when asked about Pouncey.

The Pats' D-line played poorly in Sunday's loss to the Browns, and that's being generous. Losses at the point of attack opened up holes for RB Peyton Hillis to rumble 184 yards on the ground in an embarrassing effort. Wilfork is the stalwart of the line, the veteran of the defense. He is a mammoth player that generally attracts double teams. When he is moved to the end, he can stop off-tackle plays, but he can also force runners to bounce outside with his penetration up the gut.

While it is unknown where Wilfork will start along the line, the veteran will likely want to take some shots at getting past the rookie into the Steelers' backfield. After the Browns gashed the Patriots on the ground, the Steelers will look to do the same, so the Wilfork-Pouncey battle should be an entertaining one to watch.