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Big win over Titans, but Patriots looming

It was the most impressive win of the season for the Pittsburgh Steelers.  A dominant performance against what is thought to be a sure play-off team in the Titans.  After a slow start, the offense finally played up to their enormous capabilities.  The team scored over 30 points for the first time this season.  That’s a feat that was thought to be the norm, not a once in ten games anomaly.  They will need this offense to be firing on all cylinders because the only game that really matters is only a few short weeks away.

Barring catastrophic injuries, the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers were locks to win their respective divisions.  Both divisions are even worse than expected when the season began.  The week 15 matchup between these two teams was almost assuredly to decide home field advantage.  So now the only true test for the Steelers will come when the defending Super Bowl champions come to Pittsburgh.  All the optimism and positive feelings won’t mean anything if a repeat of the AFC Championship should occur.  This is not just another run of the mill franchise we are talking about here.  This is the six-time Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers.  Rolling up 8-2 records against the likes of the Cleveland Browns and Indianapolis Colts is not how this team is measured.  Beating a team like the Patriots is what’s expected out of an organization like the Steelers.

The narrative of  “it’s just another regular season game” or “they make the playoffs regardless”  is part of a losers mentality that this franchise should not accept.  The Steelers simply have not been competitive versus New England in recent years and that has to stop.  Pittsburgh was embarrassed  to the tune of 36-17 in last season’s AFC Championship game, and it wasn’t even as close as the score reflects.  Tom Brady had nearly 400 yards passing as he shredded a seemingly helpless Steelers defense.  The offense wasn’t any better as they managed only 9 points before a late garbage time touchdown.  This team needs to have a good performance and put some doubt into the über confident Patriots.  If they don’t, when they meet again in the play-offs the results will likely be the same.  In that scenario it could, and probably should, start costing coaches and players their jobs.  After all, this isn’t just another franchise that accepts failure right?

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