Is the WR1 torch passing from Antonio Brown to JuJu Smith-Schuster underway in Pittsburgh?

A.B. is WR4 overall, four spots and a little less than 16 points ahead of Smith-Schuster on the season. But as rotoworld's Evan Silva pointed out on Twitter this week, the sophomore has turned the same number of opportunities (62) as the future first-ballot Hall of Famer over the past six games into five more catches, 129 more yards and the same number of scores.

That's obviously a small sample size, and surely Smith-Schuster's 97- and 75-yard house calls during that stretch help tip the yardage scale toward JuJu. We first briefly touched on this subject way back in Week 4, and Smith Schuster has maintained his edge over A.B. in average per catch (13.6 YPC vs. 12.4) and, curiously, rapport with Big Ben (69.5 percent catch rate vs. 60.6 for Brown, easily a career low). Conversely, Brown holds a huge advantage in touchdowns (12 to 6) and narrow lead in targets (142 to 131) and 40-plus yard gains (6 to 5).

We're clearly witnessing the early infancy of a brilliant career for Smith-Schuster, but are we also seeing the start of Brown's decline? That feels like a rash judgment considering he has 12 TDs, one shy of his personal best, north of 1,000 yards for a sixth straight season and a strong shot at also securing at least 100 grabs in a sixth consecutive campaign.

But one of the many intriguing factors of the Steelers' huge showdown with New England at Heinz Field Sunday will be seeing how Belichick treats the Steelers' star WR duo. Historically, he deploys his top cover man on the opposition's No. 2 and brackets the biggest threat in his eyes.

Could we see Smith-Schuster get double the attention Sunday? Our guess is we're not quite to that point — Brown's savvy and penchant for dominating in the biggest games helps us believe he'll still be Belichick's main concern. Remember, though it was Smith-Schuster going off for 114 yards on six grabs vs. the Pats last season, while Brown tore his calf muscle that day, ending his regular season with a season-low 2-24 receiving.

Even the most historically coy coaches (that's putting it nicely) share the evaluations they spend so much energy guarding of their own players and their enemies — not in their daily news conferences but how they treat players on game days. And considering Belichick is the smartest coach in the history of the game, it'll be utterly fascinating to see what he thinks of Brown and JuJu.

1. Michael Thomas, Saints at Panthers

2. Tyreek Hill, Chiefs vs. Chargers

3. DeAndre Hopkins, Texans at Jets

4. Keenan Allen, Chargers at Chiefs

5. Adam Thielen, Vikings vs. Dolphins

6. Brandin Cooks, Rams vs. Eagles

7. Antonio Brown, Steelers vs. Patriots

8. JuJu Smith-Schuster, Steelers vs. Patriots

9. Amari Cooper, Cowboys at Colts

10. T.Y. Hilton, Colts vs. Cowboys

11. Davante Adams, Packers at Bears

12. Julio Jones, Falcons vs. Cardinals

13. Robert Woods, Rams vs. Eagles

14. Odell Beckham Jr.,* Giants vs. Titans

15. Julian Edelman, Patriots at Steelers

16. Josh Gordon, Patriots at Steelers

17. Stefon Diggs, Vikings vs. Dolphins

18. Jarvis Landry, Browns at Broncos

19. Mike Evans, Bucs at Ravens

20. Tyler Lockett, Seahawks at 49ers

21. Kenny Golladay, Lions at Bills

22. D.J. Moore, Panthers vs. Saints

23. Dante Pettis, 49ers vs. Seahawks

24. Doug Baldwin*, Seahawks at 49ers

25. Corey Davis, Titans at Giants

26. Allen Robinson, Bears vs. Packers

27. Courtland Sutton, Broncos vs. Browns

28. Calvin Ridley, Falcons vs. Cardinals

29. Alshon Jeffery, Eagles at Rams

30. Tyler Boyd, Bengals vs. Raiders

31. DaeSean Hamilton, Broncos vs. Browns

32. Tre'Quan Smith, Saints at Panthers

33. Kenny Stills, Dolphins at Vikings

34. Randall Cobb, Packers at Bears

35. Curtis Samuel, Panthers vs. Saints

36. Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals at Falcons

37. Sterling Shepard, Giants vs. Titans

38. John Brown, Ravens vs. Bucs

39. Demaryius Thomas, Texans at Jets

40. Mike Williams, Chargers at Chiefs

41. Robby Anderson, Jets vs. Texans

42. Jordy Nelson, Raiders at Bengals

43. Quincy Enunwa, Jets vs. Texans

44. Tyrell Williams, Chargers at Chiefs

45. Michael Crabtree, Ravens vs. Bucs

46. Dede Westbrook, Jaguars vs. Washington

47. John Ross, Bengals vs. Raiders

48. Chris Conley, Chiefs vs. Chargers

49. Robert Foster, Bills vs. Jets

50. David Moore, Seahawks at 49ers

51. Chris Godwin, Bucs at Ravens

52. Donte Moncrief, Jaguars vs. Washington

53. Adam Humphries, Bucs at Ravens

54. Isaiah McKenzie, Bills vs. Lions

55. Anthony Miller, Bears vs. Packers

56. Keith Kirkwood, Saints at Panthers

57. Antonio Callaway, Browns at Broncos

58. Jamison Crowder, Washington at Jaguars

59. Marquise Goodwin, 49ers vs. Seahawks

60. Golden Tate, Eagles at Rams

62. Josh Reynolds, Rams vs. Eagles

63. Devin Funchess, Panthers vs. Saints