The Pittsburgh Steelers are in the thick of the AFC playoff race.
They beat the Patriots on Sunday to clinch their first playoff berth since 2006.
Their win also puts them in position to win the AFC North.
But if the Steelers’ playoff chances are anything to go by, the rest of the division could still be very good.
That’s because they’re facing a New England team that has been one of the league’s most dominant offensive units for the past few years.
That dominance will only continue if the Patriots can’t play as well on defense as they did on offense.
Let’s take a look at how the Steelers did on both fronts against the Patriots.
Offense: Pittsburgh’s offense ranks second in the NFL in points per game, and its rushing defense is sixth.
But the Steelers have struggled to find a rhythm with their quarterback.
They’ve allowed 5.8 yards per carry in three games.
That number has dropped to 3.5 yards per attempt over the last three games, and the Steelers haven’t scored a touchdown since Week 11.
Pittsburgh’s run defense ranks seventh in the league, and it allowed just three rushing touchdowns in the past five games.
The Steelers haven, at times, looked vulnerable to the run.
It was on the verge of doing that again against the Steelers, though, as the Patriots turned to the running game to the tune of a whopping 1,988 yards of total offense.
But this time, they were able to take advantage of the lack of pressure and the tight coverage.
In fact, they gave up just one rushing touchdown.
The Patriots also ran for just 17 yards against Pittsburgh, including a touchdown run by LeGarrette Blount.
In the second half, the Steelers scored touchdowns on their first three offensive possessions of the game, including the game-winning score.
And on a third-and-6 from the New England 17, running back James White ran a go-ahead touchdown pass to rookie quarterback Jacoby Brissett.
On the second offensive possession, running backs James White (1) and James White Jr. (2) run into a tight coverage to get open.
The running back runs past the defensive back and hits Brissette (3).
The tight coverage makes it hard for White to get any yards after the catch.
It’s a game-winner in the Steelers victory.
Pittsburgh quarterback Jacobo Brissetzki (14) throws a pass against New England cornerback Marcus Cannon (23) during the first quarter.
The Pittsburgh Patriots won in overtime 34-31.
(AP Photo/Paul Sancya) Pittsburgh’s defense was also impressive in the second quarter.
On third-down conversions, the Patriots allowed four touchdown passes and just two interceptions.
It also allowed only 14 points on the ground.
Pittsburgh allowed just four rushing yards and had just three total quarterback hurries on its defensive front.
The only other time Pittsburgh allowed a rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter came on a run play in the final minute of the third quarter.
And that was on a 3rd-and