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Patriots-Steelers matchup of the day: Tuesday

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Recent posts by Kevin Fishbain

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By Kevin Fishbain

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

Steelers OLB LaMarr Woodley vs. Patriots OTs Sebastian Vollmer and Nate Solder

The Steelers are next in line to try to use pressure on Tom Brady to slow down the Patriots' attack. It worked for more than three quarters for the Cowboys, who sacked Brady three times and hit him eight times. Dallas held the Patriots to 13 points until the final two minutes.

Woodley, the Steelers' best pass rusher, has seven sacks this season, including 5½ in the last three games. He will often rush against his opponent's right tackle, which will either be Vollmer in his first game back since Week Two or Solder, the rookie who has performed well in Vollmer's absence.

Woodley is very strong and able to push tackles back on his way to the quarterback. He presents a tough matchup and can be a difference maker. When the Steelers have opportunities to blitz, Woodley will be key on those plays. He is also good against the run.

The Patriots kept Woodley from getting a sack last season in their 39-26 win and will try to do so again. The tackles need to win the first punch with Woodley to keep him away from Brady.

Pittsburgh is better off keeping more players in coverage than blitzing, meaning Woodley will be counted on heavily to pressure Brady. OG Brian Waters may need to help from the inside while TE Rob Gronkowski and the running backs will need to be available for chip blocks on Woodley.

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