The AFC title game is going to be an interesting one with a rematch of week seven, Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots. Though the teams are the same on paper, much has changed since then.

Steelers vs Patriots: AFC Championship Game Preview

Improved Steelers Defense

The Steelers are much improved, with a defense that is easily one of the most improved units in the NFL.

They have been getting to the quarterback and stopping the big play. And most importantly they aren’t letting opponents into the endzone. With the ageless wonder in James Harrison and the emerging star in sophomore outside linebacker Bud Dupree, the team is not short in personality. They also boast a trio of rookies—Artie Burns, Sean Davis and Javon Hargrave—who all have impressed as the season has developed.

Big Ben Ready for Round Two

The Steelers’ leader on offense, Ben Roethlisberger, will be back for this one having been absent for the match earlier this season. His onfield presence and extensive experience could be a difference-maker. Marcus Gilbert, the team’s starting right tackle, will certainly be an important addition. They also didn’t have Ladarius Green, but he’s still in question with a concussion. Green hasn’t played since getting hurt against the Bengals in week 15.

The Patriots Are Still The Patriots

So long as New England have Tom Brady commanding the offense and Bill Belichick on the sideline, they are plenty dangerous. They have plenty of talent on that offense. Though they will have to play this Steelers game without Gronkowski, they will hope Martellus Bennett can exploit the Steelers defense. James White patrols the backfield offering an excellent receiving option, and Legarrette Blount has 18 rushing touchdowns. Dion Lewis is back and will show that he’s plenty healthy. With receivers Chris Hogan, Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola and Michael Floyd, Brady has plenty of options.

Interested in writing at LWOSports.com? Send a sample to Mike@LastWordOnSports.com.

Main image credit: