The New England Patriots will begin the defense of their Super Bowl LIII Championship this week when they host the Pittsburgh Steelers in a primetime Sunday Night Football game. The Patriots are the last team to defend their title after winning back-to-back Super Bowls in 2003 and 2004.
The Patriots and Steelers will meet for the fifth straight time in the regular season and for the fourth time in a regular-season opener. The Patriots have opened the season at home against the Steelers in 1979, 2002 and 2015. The ’02 and ’15 games occurred when the Patriots were coming off a Super Bowl win. The Patriots are 2-1 in opening-day games against Pittsburgh. Over the last five regular-season matchups, the Patriots are 4-1. The only loss was last year on Dec. 16 when the Patriots traveled to Pittsburgh and lost, 17-10, at Heinz Field.
This week’s matchup will mark the 33rd meeting overall. Pittsburgh leads the regular-season series by a 15-12 margin, while New England leads 4-1 in the postseason. Overall, the series is tied at 16-16. The Patriots had won the last five meetings overall with regular-season wins in 2013, ’15, ’16, ’17 and the 2016 AFC Championship Game before last season’s regular-season loss.
The teams played in the AFC Championship Game during the 2001, ’04 and ’16 playoffs, with the Patriots winning each time, en route to Super Bowl titles. The teams also met in the 1996 and ’97 Divisional Playoffs. The Patriots defeated Pittsburgh, 28-3, at Foxboro Stadium en route to their Super Bowl XXXI appearance. Pittsburgh beat New England the following season, 7-6, at Three Rivers Stadium.
The Patriots are 4-4 in home games against Pittsburgh in the regular season, including 4-1 in home games at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots are 2-0 in home games against Pittsburgh in the postseason with wins in the 1996 and 2016 postseasons.
The Patriots first regular-season home game at Gillette Stadium was the 2002 season-opening 28-21 win on Sept. 9, 2002.
Home Record: 6-4
- Gillette Stadium: 5-1
- Foxboro Stadium: 1-3
- Heinz Field: 6-3
- Three Rivers Stadium: 4-9
Bill Belichick vs. Pittsburgh: 13-10 (11-4 with New England)
Mike Tomlin vs. New England: 3-7
TALE OF THE TAPE
|2018 REGULAR SEASON||NEW ENGLAND||PITTSBURGH|
|Total Yards Gained||6,295||6,453|
|Total Offense (Rank)||393.4 (5)||403.3 (4)|
|Rush Offense||127.3 (5)||90.3 (31)|
|Pass Offense||266.1 (8)||313.0 (2)|
|Points Per Game||27.3 (4)||26.8 (6t)|
|Total Yards Allowed||5,746||5,235|
|Total Defense (Rank)||359.1 (21)||327.2 (6)|
|Rush Defense||112.7 (11)||96.1(6)|
|Pass Defense||246.4 (22)||231.1 (10)|
|Points Allowed/Game||20.3 (7)||22.5 (16t)|
|Sacks Allowed/Yards Lost||21/147||24/166|
|Total Touchdowns Scored||51||54|
|Turnover Differential||+10 (5)||-11 (28)|
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
IF THE PATRIOTS WIN…
- The Patriots will improve to 5-1 all-time in season openers after winning the Super Bowl. Following a Super Bowl win, the Patriots have opened on Monday Night Football once and three times on Thursday Night Football. This will be their first home opener appearance on Sunday Night Football after a Super Bowl win.
- The Patriots will improve their record against the Steelers on Kickoff Weekend to 3-1. The Patriots have opened the season against the Steelers three prior times (1979, 2002, 2015), all of which were home games. Their two wins (2002, 2015) came in home openers following Super Bowl Championship seasons.
- The Patriots will claim their 10th win in their past 11 home openers on Kickoff Weekend. It will also mark the team’s 34th Kickoff Weekend win all-time. They are currently tied for third amongst AFC teams at 33.
- The Patriots will take the all-time lead in their series with the Steelers, improving to 17-16 (including postseason).
- The Patriots will improve to 14-straight regular-season wins at Gillette Stadium, the franchise’s fourth-longest home win streak in Patriots history.
- The Patriots will earn their 178th home victory since 1994 (including postseason), extending their league record during that time.
- The Patriots will improve their record to 77-50 all-time in primetime games, including a 31-19 record on Sunday Night Football.
- And hold the advantage at the half, the Patriots will improve to 96-1 all-time at Gillette Stadium when leading at halftime.
- And a player eclipses 100 yards rushing, the team will improve to 52-1 in the regular season since 2000 when a player crosses that threshold.
KICKOFF WEEKEND AND CHAMPIONSHIP MOMENT
Prior to Sunday’s kickoff, the New England Patriots will celebrate their Super Bowl LIII Championship with a special pre-game ceremony. Fans are encouraged to be in their seats by 8 p.m.
The Patriots are 4-1 all-time in season openers in the season after winning the Super Bowl. Following a Super Bowl win, the Patriots have opened on Monday Night Football one time, and three times on Thursday Night Football. The 2019 season marks the third time opening against Pittsburgh following a Super Bowl win. The Patriots started the season against Pittsburgh following the 2001 and 2014 Super Bowl wins.