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Steelers are underdogs for the second time in 2017, and for the first time at Heinz Field

The Pittsburgh Steelers will be underdogs for only the second time this season when the Patriots come to Heinz Field on Sunday.

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers are a tough team, in case their 11-2 record didn’t indicate that, but they’re particularly tough to beat at Heinz Field. Of their two losses in 2017, only one has come at home, and that was the Ben Roethlisberger 5-interception debacle against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 5.

Since then, perfection.

However, as the Steelers prepare to face the New England Patriots in Week 15, they are underdogs for just the second time this season. The first? The team’s Week-6 matchup against the then-undefeated Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. Clearly the Steelers overcame the underdog stigma and handed the Chiefs their first loss of the 2017 season.

Other than the Chiefs game, the Steelers have been favored in every other game on their schedule — until now.

The Patriots are 3-point favorites, per OddShark, on the road, on a short week and coming off a loss in Week 14. It’s clear Vegas is picturing a bounce-back game for Tom Brady and the boys.

Check out this breakdown from OddShark, via SB Nation:

The Patriots cruised into last Monday night's game against the Miami Dolphins as one of the league's hottest teams. New England was 8-0 SU and 7-1 ATS over its last eight games, 6-0 ATS over its last six, and had won each of its previous four games by at least 17 points, including a 35-17 win over the Dolphins.

But as 10.5-point road favorites on Monday, the Patriots simply didn't have it, suffering one of the most shocking losses of the season in a 27-20 stunner.

Losses have historically served as a great motivator under head coach Bill Belichick. The Patriots are 6-0 SU and ATS in their last six games coming off a loss.

If that wasn’t enough, this is what they had to say about the Steelers:

Pittsburgh continued its trend of close games last Sunday night against the Baltimore Ravens, winning by a field goal or less for the fourth time in the team's last five games.

But the Steelers keep ending up on the right side of these nail-biters and now own the best record in the AFC at 11-2. With a win at home on Sunday, the Steelers could all but lock up the top seed in the AFC. The Steelers are 10-6 SU and 11-3-2 ATS in their last 16 games as a home underdog.

Sunday's total is set at 53 points. The OVER is 4-0 in Pittsburgh's last four games according to the OddsShark NFL Database.

In a generally weak year in the AFC, Pittsburgh and New England have separated from the pack as the two best teams in the conference – and favorites on the odds to win Super Bowl 52. The winner of this game will control its destiny for the top spot in the AFC and the home-field advantage throughout the postseason until the Super Bowl that goes along with stacking playoff wins.

Think this Week-15 game is big? Try again, it’s huge! The Steelers have performed well at home when they’ve been underdogs, and the Patriots are nearly unstoppable coming off of a loss. Something has to give, but if you like the Steelers at home, getting points, you might want to get to the window to place your bet before things change.