PITTSBURGH (WPRI) — The Patriots and Steelers are set to renew their rivalry Sunday afternoon, though the matchup may not hold the weight it has over the past two decades.
It’s the first time since 1998 that the two teams will meet without Tom Brady or Ben Roethlisberger under center.
The Patriots are looking to recover after a rough outing in Week 1 against the Dolphins.
Patriots QB Mac Jones is expected to play as he recovers from a back injury. The team will, however, be without RB Ty Montgomery, who was placed on IR with a knee injury.
Below are some notes and quotes to get you ready for the game:
- No TJ Watt for the Steelers is a big absence and something that will help the Patriots this week, especially after the offensive performance that New England had against Miami in Week 1
- The Steelers are coming off a big Week 1 win over the Bengals in OT
- The Patriots are 17-16 in the history of the matchup between two teams
Mac Jones on the Steelers defense: “I think it’s a super talented defense. Play a lot of different coverages, definitely fly to the ball. Obviously, Minkah [Fitzpatrick] does a great job. I had some experience, he was my former teammate at Alabama, and I have a lot of respect for him and all the guys on their defense. He makes a lot of plays out there. They’ve got play makers all over the field. It’s a really good defense to kind of go against. We don’t get to play against them a lot, but just got to be ready to go and correct the things we want to correct and focus on ourselves.”
Mac Jones on his confidence heading into Week 2: “I think we all feel pretty good about it honestly. I think early on we were trying to iron some things out but, at the end of the day, when we watch the tape, and when everyone does what they’re supposed to do, it’s a good play, and when we don’t, it’s just not a good play. That’s football, and once you get the good plays over here and the bad plays over there and there’s not very many bad plays, then we’ll score points and like you’re saying, the results will come. But, it’s more about, can everybody do their job to stack up good plays. Can I get it to the right guy who makes his yards after catch? Can we block up front the blitzes, the stunts, all that stuff? It’s what we’re just working through and once we can do that, we’ll be good.”
Bill Belichick on the Steelers: “It’s been a while since we’ve seen them. So I’m not as familiar with what some of their other seasons have looked like and so forth. They have good inside rushers. Obviously, [Cameron] Heyward is one of the best in the league. Good outside rushers, [T.J.] Watt, [Alex] Highsmith last week. Then they blitz their secondary a decent amount, enough to keep you honest. And the linebackers are fast, [Devin] Bush, [Myles] Jack, [Robert] Spillane, they’ve got a whole bunch of them. So those guys are very athletic, too. So it’s an athletic defense with some good, powerful people inside.”