Patriots-Steelers matchup of the day: Thursday

Posted Nov. 11, 2010 @ 4:19 p.m.
Posted By Kevin Fishbain

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

Patriots QB Tom Brady vs. Steelers SS Troy Polamalu

Two of the best at their position square off on Sunday night, but it is not the conventional mano-a-mano battle. Polamalu, one of the best ballhawks in the league, will be looking to make Brady's day difficult by playing center field in the Steelers' defense. And Brady cannot ignore Polamalu's presence every time he rears back to throw.

After missing most of last season because of injury, Polamalu has returned to form and has two interceptions this season. He flies around the defense, playing in coverage or coming up to the line of scrimmage. He will do his best to take away any deep routes on some plays while creeping up with the intent of blowing up any underneath routes.

Brady's accuracy and production have suffered since the trade of WR Randy Moss, and defenses are making WR Wes Welker's life difficult. With a weak defense, Brady needs to get the Patriots points, and it won't be easy against the Steelers, especially with Polamalu looming on every play. Brady will have to lead a balanced offense — which won't be easy considering how strong the Steelers are against the run — to keep Polamalu honest. He'll need to look Polamalu off and attack the Steelers' cornerbacks without the safety with the flowing hair wreaking havoc.