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2022 NFL Week 2: Patriots-Steelers game projections

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The New England Patriots will play the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 2 at Acrisure Stadium in Pittsburgh on Sunday. The Steelers come in with confidence after winning four consecutive games, the most recent of which was a 23-20 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 1 of the NFL.

Unlike the Steelers, the Patriots are out for vengeance after losing to the Miami Dolphins in their most recent game in Week 1. Having won 13 of the previous 17 meetings between the two teams, the Patriots have a 17-16 head-to-head advantage in the series of the competition.

To anticipate this game, NBC Sports’ Phil Perry breaks down several things to keep an eye on.

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Patriots’ defensive back takes on Steelers’ WRs

According to Pro Football Focus, Mitch Trubisky had a strong performance in Week 1 after taking an average of just under two seconds per play, therefore the Steelers should make the most of his run-after-catch skills.

Perry asserted that the Patriots shouldn’t be particularly concerned with the deep area of the field, so it is anticipated that the Patriots will take advantage of any opportunity to take the Steelers’ Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool “to the ground.”

Rhamondre Stevenson as a ‘surprise’

Stevenson managed eight carries for 25 yards after participating in 14 snaps of play. However, it would be surprising if Stevenson were selected as a runner this week due to Mac Jones’ injury. In comparison to Damien Harris, Stevenson, in Perry’s opinion, is a more dynamic and adaptable router-runner.

That said, it is anticipated that Stevenson might come off as a surprise in the game given his physical skill set and this matchup against Bush, a player who has struggled since joining the league in 2019.

Christian Barmore’s advantage

Perry said that significant talent upgrades were insufficient to repair Pittsburgh’s worst-performing offensive line. According to Pro Football Focus, Pittsburgh center Mason Cole was rated as a below-average pass-protector.

Being matched up with Barmore, who was regarded as one of the disruptive interior defensive linemen as a rookie last year, his poor performance will be a major setback for Pittsburgh.

Barmore is favored in this matchup as Cole just had an ankle injury that constrained him to two days of practice in Week 1, despite being listed on the lineup for Friday’s game.

Cam Heyward’s ‘destructive’ capability

Heyward is well known for his disruptive play for the Steelers, which was supported when he previously used excessive force against the Bengals’ offensive line. Due to this outstanding performance, Bill Belichick, the Patriots’ head coach, stated that “Heyward is one of the best in the league.”

The Patriots are said to have had good pass protection during their last game in Miami. However, both Cole Strange and David Andrews are expected to confront the strength that Heyward will bring to the game — particularly since Heyward has the ability “to cause problems,” according to Perry.

Patriots’ protection measure

NFL quarterback JT O’Sullivan claimed on The Next Pats Podcast that the Patriots’ pass protection needs some work, especially after their recent loss to the Dolphins.

“I think that there were some pass-protection issues that have to be solved immediately,” O’Sullivan said.

“And if you don’t see those solved immediately, it’s going to be really hard for Mac Jones to play quarterback at a high level. It’s going to be really hard for Mac Jones to survive some of those hits that you’re taking…”

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers are a professional American football team based in Pittsburgh. (wikipedia)

Mac Jones

Michael McCorkle “Mac” Jones is an American football quarterback for the New England Patriots of the National Football League . Nicknamed “the Joker”, he played college football at Alabama, (wikipedia)

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