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WR Brandon Gibson - New England Patriots

6-1, 210Born: 8-13-1987College: Washington StateDrafted: Round 6

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Photo: Ron Schwane, US Presswire

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Week 20: vs Pittsburgh Steelers

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Mark and Joe say: Tough matchup. New England defeated the Steelers 27-16 at Heinz Field back on October 23rd, 2016. However, in that game Ben Roethlisberger sat out due to his torn knee meniscus cartilage that had been surgically repaired just prior to the Week Seven game. Tom Brady threw 19/26 for 222 yards, two TDs and threw zero interceptions while taking zero sacks during the contest. However, his lead receiver that day, Rob Gronkowski (four targets for 4/93/1 receiving) is now on I.R. (Julian Edelman was second in receiving at Pittsburgh with 10 targets for 9/60/0 receiving). Brady threw 18/38 for 287 yards, two TDs and two interceptions vs. Houston last week, looking a little out-of-synch with his receivers due to heavy pass pressure (two sacks for -8 yards and several other hits/pressures). He did find his running backs for two short TD passes (seven targets for 2/23/1 receiving to Dion Lewis; one for 1/19/1 to James White). Edelman (13 targets for 8/137/0 receiving) was the main receiver last weekend, as per usual. Two games ago Brady blew up the Dolphins in the regular season finale, throwing 25/33 for 276 yards passing, three TDs and zero interceptions with zero sacks taken before Jimmy Garoppolo cleaned up the 35-14 shellacking. Edelman (13 targets for 8/151/1 receiving), Michael Floyd (four for 3/36/1) and Martellus Bennett (five for 3/33/1) all hauled in scores during the rout. Wide receiver Chris Hogan said on Tuesday, January 17 that he feels good after exiting the game early with a thigh injury against the Houston Texans last weekend. '[I] just had a little minor setback in the game,' Hogan said. 'I'm working back every single day and feeling better every day.' Stay tuned to's Players in the News as the weekend approaches to see if Hogan can practice/get in the mix for the Patriots this weekend. Also, receiver Malcolm Mitchell (knee injury) appears to have a solid chance to play in the AFC Championship game, according to a source - the Patriots may have a plethora of targets available for Brady against Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh kept Alex Smith and company bottled up for most of the game at Kansas City, allowing just 20/34 for 166 net yards passing, one TD and one interception thrown (with one sack for -6 yards generated). Even so, they needed a holding call on a two-point conversion try to fend off the Chiefs 18-16, but when the final gun went off it was Pittsburgh with a sloppy 'W' (the Steelers kicked six field goals last weekend, never finding the end zone in 60 minutes of play). Pittsburgh beat up Dolphins' backup Matt Moore in the Wild Card round of the playoffs, sacking him five times for -36 yards while allowing 29/36 for 253 net yards passing, one TD and one interception thrown. From Week 15-17 of regular season (the last three weeks, with no teams on bye), Pittsburgh has averaged 17 fantasy points allowed per game to opposing quarterbacks (10th-least in the NFL); and 17 fantasy points per game allowed to wide receivers (tied for seventh-least); with 9.1 fantasy points given up per game to tight ends (13th-most). During regular season the Steelers averaged 242.6 net passing yards allowed per game (16th in the NFL) with 20 passing scores given out vs. 13 interceptions and 38 sacks generated (tied for 15th in the NFL and tied for ninth-ranked, respectively). In the post-season, the team has averaged 209.5 net passing yards allowed per game, a significant improvement over their regular season average. Pittsburgh's pass rush could pressure Brady in this game - it looks like a tough matchup is in store for the Patriots' offense in this game.

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