Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Fact Check: Pittsburgh Steelers at New England Patriots

The defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots kick off the regular season at home Thursday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Here's your Week 1 Fact Check for the AFC matchup:

Records on Thursday -- Steelers: 10-14 / Patriots: 8-5

Head-to-Head -- Steelers lead series, 14-9.

Head-to-Head Streak -- Patriots have won four of the past six.

Last Meeting
November 3, 2013: Patriots won, 55-31. Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski tallied 143 receiving yards and a touchdown. Running back Stevan Ridley rushed for two scores.

Game Notables
The game features two of the three winningest teams over past 10 seasons (2005-2014). The Patriots (122-38, .763) have the best regular-season win percentage during that span. The Steelers rank third (101-59, .631). The clubs have combined for 15 playoff berths, six AFC Championship wins and three Super Bowl titles over the past decade.

Steelers Notes
QB BEN ROETHLISBERGER has led the Steelers to five division titles, three AFC Championships and two Super Bowl wins. In 2014, he passed for single-season club record 4,952 yards and 32 touchdowns, which tied his own Steelers mark (2007). He's the all-time franchise passing leader in yards (39,057), touchdowns (251), completions (3,157) and rating (93.9).

RB DEANGELO WILLIAMS makes his Pittsburgh debut. He played nine seasons with the Carolina Panthers and is that team's all-time leading rusher (6,846).

WR ANTONIO BROWN led the NFL in catches (129) and reception yards (1,698) in 2014--both single-season club records--and he became the fourth player in NFL history with back-to-back 110-plus-catch seasons.

LB JAMES HARRISON (69.5) needs half a sack to join JASON GILDON (77) as the only Steelers with 70-plus in his career. He has 5.5 sacks in the past seven seasons. LB LAWRENCE TIMMONS led team with 132 tackles in 2014.

Patriots Notes
New England has won six consecutive division titles, tied for the second-longest streak in NFL history.

QB TOM BRADY has an 11-2 career record (.846) in season openers, the highest win percentage among Super Bowl-era quarterback (with a minimum of 10 starts). In 2014, he guided New England to its fourth Super Bowl title in 14 years and became the first starting QB in NFL history to win 12 division championships.

In four career starts, RB BRANDON BOLDEN averages 6.3 yards per rush and has 175 total scrimmage yards (119 rush, 56 receiving) with two rushing TDs.

In the past five games (including the playoffs), WR JULIAN EDELMAN has 41 catches for 510 yards (102 per game) and three touchdown catches.

In 2014, TE ROB GRONKOWSKI led the Patriots with 12 touchdown catches, tied for most among NFL tight ends. He's one of two tight ends in the league's history with four 10-touchdown seasons--the other is ANTONIO GATES. In three career meetings with Pittsburgh, he's amassed 21 catches for 309 yards and four touchdowns.

LB JAMIE COLLINS has four sacks in the past five games.

S DEVIN MCCOURTY had an interception in the last meeting.

Thursday's Referee
Carl Cheffers.

Broadcast Info 
Television: NBC (8:30 p.m. Eastern).
Radio: Westwood One; SIRIUS: 88 (WW1); 83 (Pit); 93 (NE); XM: 88 (WW1); 225 (Pit); 226 (NE).

[Information courtesy of the NFL]

Follow AFC East Daily @AFCEastDaily