Here are five players who must come through with big-time performances Sunday for the New England Patriots to hold off the Pittsburgh Steelers and advance to Super Bowl LI. The Steelers are unsurprising underdogs against the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship, and the team's disgusting history against Brady may be a factor. In Week 6 against New England, Bell rushed for 81 yards (his 10th fewest total this season) on 21 carries (just 3.86 per carry). I expect this game to be a competitive one as well, but I'll take the Patriots.
"Ben's an incredible player", Brady said.
His career passer rating in regular-season games against New England is 95.4.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger completed 20 of 31 pass attempts for 224 passing yards, but he didn't throw a touchdown pass and had one interception.
Playing against Brady seemingly brings out the best in Roethlisberger. Despite a valiant effort from Brady and Co., it'll be the Steelers who get the last laugh.
Bell, averaging 168.5 rushing yards this postseason, set a franchise record for rushing yards against Miami in the wild-card round, then broke it Sunday night at Arrowhead Stadium.
For years, the narrative in the AFC was Brady versus Peyton Manning - and for good reason.
The victor of the AFC championship will become the first team ever to appear in nine Super Bowl games.
But Roethlisberger is no stranger to the big game, either.
Adding to the Patriots' injury trouble on the offensive side of the football and specifically in the passing game, tight end Martellus Bennett, fellow wide receiver Chris Hogan and Mitchell were all listed as questionable ahead of Sunday evening's AFC showdown. But there's no way the Steelers let that impact them this time around.
Roethlisberger had asked Brady in a pregame meeting on the field before the teams played October 23 at Heinz Field.
"The closer you get to this thing, everybody locks in", said Gay.
In last season's AFC title game, the Denver Broncos provided a pretty effective road map for beating the Patriots: Pound Brady.
But has any quarterback ever been more motivated to have the commissioner hand him the Lombardi Trophy more than Brady is right now? The Patriots are the highest remaining seed, being the No. 1 team in the AFC. He's got good vision, great patience, and he does a good job. I expect Belichick to key on Bell, forcing Roethlisberger to win the game through the air, which he can do. "Obviously, I was blessed to win a Super Bowl the next year, and that helps kind of put that behind you a little bit". It is hard for quarterbacks in their late 30s with multiple Super Bowl rings to find further motivation, but man, did Goodell ever hand Brady some this year. "I love the way he plays". "You have to be very disciplined in every look that you give him". He's just been a very great player and the respect is very mutual. "To play at his level for as long as he has, and his style of play, has been remarkable".
The Patriots may have won the first meeting between these two teams back in Week 7, but it's a much different situation this time with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line.