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Patriots-Steelers prediction

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Recent posts by Kevin Fishbain

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Posted Oct. 30, 2011 @ 11:51 a.m. ET
By Kevin Fishbain

With the Ravens losing on "Monday Night Football" last week, Sunday's Patriots-Steelers game becomes the true battle for early AFC supremacy this season.

The 5-1 Pats are coming off a bye, with the league's best passing attack going against a Steelers team that has won three in a row and boasts the league's best pass defense. Something's gotta give.

The Steelers will be without LBs James Harrison and James Farrior, while the Patriots are thin at cornerback after releasing Leigh Bodden and placing Ras-I Dowling on injured reserve. If Jerod Mayo is back for New England, though, that should be a big boost.

Last season, the Patriots picked apart Dick LeBeau's defense en route to a 39-26 win. This year's Pittsburgh defense is banged up and getting older, while the Pats' offense hasn't lost a step. This one will be high-scoring, and a few big plays from Ben Roethlisberger to Mike Wallace are to be expected, but as in most Patriots games, Tom Brady's offense is too explosive to lose this game at Heinz Field.

Bill Belichick hasn't lost following a bye since 2002. He has had extra time to get his team healthy and form a plan to beat Pittsburgh. It's never a good idea to bet against Belichick with extra time on his hands, and I'm not going to start now.

Prediction: Patriots 30, Steelers 24

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