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Patriots-Steelers matchup of the day: Friday

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Recent posts by Kevin Fishbain

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Posted Nov. 12, 2010 @ 2:06 p.m. ET
By Kevin Fishbain

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

Steelers WR Mike Wallace vs. Patriots CBs Devin McCourty and Kyle Arrington

In his second season, Wallace has emerged as a legitimate deep threat. He leads the Steelers with 507 receiving yards and five TDs. He also is gaining a staggering 23 yards per catch — the highest mark in the league among players with at least 10 receptions. The speedster is benefiting now with Big Ben and his strong arm at the helm.

The Steelers will bring a balanced attack to the field Sunday night, especially after the Browns' running game gashed the Patriots' defense. But the Pats' pass defense is their biggest weakness, and Roethlisberger will want to stretch New England deep with Wallace.

McCourty has been the Pats' top corner this season as a rookie, and he has guarded top receivers around the league. McCourty is physical but has been beat on jump balls and sometimes gets beat by speedy receivers, like Wallace. Arrington also will get some shots at defending Wallace. Arrington entered the starting lineup with the struggles of Darius Butler and also has guarded top receivers (Lee Evans and Randy Moss) this season.

S Brandon Meriweather will be helping on Wallace over the top. Against the Vikings, Meriweather was always looming near Moss, taking away deep throws. The Pats can't put too much focus on Wallace with veteran Hines Ward coming out of the slot for Pittsburgh, but the Patriots have done a good job not allowing big plays this season, and if they plan to upset the Steelers, they will need to keep Wallace in check.


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