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Despite reports, Tom Brady and New England Patriots are expecting Ben Roethlisberger in Steelers lineup

The Pittsburgh Steelers were dealt a tough blow when Ben Roethlisberger suffered a torn meniscus in their Week 6 game, but don't think the Patriots are believing Big Ben is out in Week 7.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Let's be honest. When the 2016 schedule was released, fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers circled the Week 7 matchup with the New England Patriots at Heinz Field.

That would be the barometer this talented Steelers team would need.

That would be the chance for the Steelers to get revenge over the Patriots.

That would be the time Ben Roethlisebrger would best Tom Brady and prove his worth.

Well, it is amazing how one play in a Week 6 loss to the Miami Dolphins can change all of that. When Ben Roethlisberger was diagnosed with a torn meniscus, the Vegas line on the game sky rocketed to the Patriots being double-digit favorites on the road, and suddenly the Steelers proud fan base is waving the white flag of surrender a week prior to the actual game.

Well, don't tell the Patriots and Tom Brady Ben Roethlisberger isn't playing Sunday, because until No. 7 is officially ruled out, they believe he will be there making plays.

"He's one of the toughest guys in the league. I would never rule him out for anything," Brady said Monday morning during his weekly interview on sports radio WEEI's "Kirk and Callahan Show."

"He's done that before and played and thrown for 400 yards. He's just a stud, just an incredible player," Brady added. "I've played against him since 2004, and nothing surprises me with him. He's one of the best quarterbacks I've ever played against. I would never count him out."

"He's such a great player. He's been the leader of that team for a long time and done a great job at it. They always seem like they're right in the mix," Brady said on WEEI. "He displays toughness and has a very unique style of play; it's pretty spectacular to watch the way he's able to shrug off defenders and make plays and throw the ball down the field. He's having such a great season this year. So we'll see. Who knows how bad it is and if he'll have a chance to play? It's only Monday, and like I said, he's as tough as anybody."

Yes, Brady and the boys are perfect at pumping up the opponent, but so is everyone else in the NFL. There are some medical reports suggesting Roethlisberger could, in theory, return this week, but you would have to wonder just how effective he would be throwing the football.

Brady mentions Roethlisberger's style of play, and although it has changed dramatically over the years, a knee injury could hobble him against the opposing pass rush.

The odds aren't good Roethlisberger dresses Sunday at Heinz Field, and if not, it looks as if Landry Jones will be "the guy" who gets the nod. The Patriots are preparing for Roethlisberger, and everything else which could happen if he doesn't play could be gravy for Bill Belichick and company.