The Pittsburgh Steelers regular season is finally here! While I haven’t determined if I can enjoy watching the slate of other NFL games throughout the day due to the anticipation for Sunday Night Football, I love the fact the Steelers and Patriots have their own stand-alone game. The entire nation will have the opportunity to see if the new-look Steelers (at lest by the national media’s standards) can do the unthinkable and knock of the Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots in Foxborogh on the night they raise their championship banner for the home crowd.
While the majority of NFL analysts and fans believe the Steelers are going in the wrong direction in 2019, those who specifically follow the team have seen many things in which to be encouraged. But even if hope spring eternal within Steelers’ Nation, the task ahead of them is a daunting one. Therefore, in this week’s installment of Crunching the Numbers, we’ll take a look at some historical statistics for that team up north. Before we get started I do have one request: please read all the way to the end, discouraging as it might be.
Playing the New England Patriots in Foxborough is no easy task. In fact, the last 16 regular season and playoff opponents have failed to exit the field victorious. The 16-game home winning steak is 10 games more than the Colt’s current streak which is the second-longest on the list. The last time the Patriots had a home winning streak of 16 games it ended in their next opportunity as they fell to the Buffalo Bills in Week 17 of the 2014 season.
During their current 16-game home winning streak, the Patriots have won by double digits in 12 of the games. On average, their margin of victory during the streak has been 15.7 points per game. The only game which was decided by a field goal or less was the Week 6 match up against the Kansas City Chiefs last season when the Patriots kicked a 28-yard field goal as time expired to win 43-40. Since most games were a blowout, the only game where the Patriots didn’t have the lead entetering the fourth quarter was the 2017 AFC championship game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Partios trailed 17-10 before outscoring the Jags 14-3 in the fourth quarter to reach Super Bowl LII.
The Patriots have averaged a score of 31.6 points per game in their last 16 home contests. Not only is their scoring average over 30 points, they have eclipsed the 31-point mark in six of their last eight home games. Some quick math in subtracting off the point differential also tells that the Pats have held their opponents to 15.9 points per game.
In Week 1 home games he has started in his career, Tom Brady has a record of 9-1. The only blemish on Brady’s resume in Week 1 in Foxborough is the 42-27 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in 2017 which was the last time the Pats raised a championship banner. When it comes to Week 1 results overall, Tom Brady is 13-3.
Now that you have fallen further into depression with each passing number, I hit you with one ray of hope. How much do historical statistics play into the result of the game Sunday night? Zero. None. All these statistics point to the fact that Tom Brady and the rest of the New England Patriots are pretty good. In fact, they are very good. But good teams can still be beat. When the whistle blows and the opening kickoff does flying though the air, none of these other numbers will matter. The only use they have is helping to determine how big of a deal it is when the Steelers walk out of Gillette Stadium with a victory.
So there are the numbers outlining the task ahead of the Steelers on Sunday night. Do you think the historical statistics matter? Does the Partiots past success play an important role in this week’s game? Please leave your answers in the comments below!