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Josh Gordon should breach Steelers' suspect defence

Both sides remain on course for playoff places

Former Cleveland man Josh Gordon has responded well to linking up with Tom Brady
1 of 1

Week 15
Sky Sports Action, 9.25pm Sunday

Since 2001 either New England or Pittsburgh have featured in 15 of the 17 AFC Championship games, facing each other three times for good measure.

They are both on course for playoff places again but both teams are going into Sunday's showdown at Heinz Field after losses.

It's worse for the home team, who are on a three-game skid after defeats to the Broncos, Chargers and Raiders, completing an unwanted clean sweep by AFC West teams after their earlier loss to  the Chiefs.

New England shouldn't be quite so alarmed. Their defeat to Miami came on an unbelievable final play, and they had won eight out of nine before that.

Even so, the loss was a worry as they looked extremely ordinary in a 34-10 hiding at Tennessee and they have not been great on the road all year, with their two early defeats coming at Jacksonville and Detroit.

The Steelers have been hit by injuries at key positions - quarterback Ben Roethlisberger missed part of their shocking defeat at Oakland with a rib injury and running back James Conner is battling an ankle injury which caused him to miss that game.

Conner has done a fine job replacing contract rebel Le'Veon Bell and the Steelers rolled another capable RB off the production line in Oakland as Jaylen Samuels got his first start.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick likes to try to take away the opposition's biggest threat, which means he must choose between double-teaming top man Antonio Brown or breakout speedster Juju Smith-Schuster.

Belichick acquired a much-needed deep threat himself this season when signing troubled Josh Gordon but the former Brown has responded well to linking up with Tom Brady and has earned the veteran passer's trust.

He looks a sound bet to score a touchdown against a suspect Steelers pass defence.

Recommendation
J Gordon to score a touchdown
2pts 7-4 Sky Bet

The lowdown

Venue Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Surface Grass
Weather Cloudy, 3C
Vegas handicap New England -2.5
Vegas points line 53.5

Team news
New England
Tight end Dwayne Allen (knee) and cornerback Stephon Gilmore (ankle) are both expected to play.

Pittsburgh
Offensive tackle Marcus Gilbert (knee) is out. Running back James Conner (ankle) and wide receiver Ryan Switzer (ankle) are questionable. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (ribs) is set to play.

Key stat
New England have won their last five games against Pittsburgh.


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The home team are on a three-game skid after defeats to the Broncos, Chargers and Raiders
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