Steelers will visit Patriots if they beat Jacksonville
The elephant in the room is in the AFC championship game. The Steelers will find out Sunday whether they will be there, too.
The New England Patriots advanced to the conference championship for the seventh consecutive season Saturday night with a 35-14 victory against the Tennessee Titans.
And so it is that the Steelers must take care of business against the Jacksonville Jaguars in an AFC divisional playoff game if they want that much-anticipated rematch against the Patriots. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin referred to the Patriots as the “elephant in the room” when he looked ahead to the Dec. 17 matchup three weeks before it happened. He even talked openly about the “second one,” a reference to a sequel in the AFC championship game.
The Patriots, who earned the top seed in the AFC as a result of their 27-24 win at Heinz Field, held up their end of the bargain Saturday night against the Titans.
To get a crack at beating the Patriots in Foxborough, Mass., for the second year in a row, the No. 2-seeded Steelers need to avenge a 30-9 regular-season loss to the Jaguars.
Oddsmakers have installed the Steelers as a seven-point favorite over the Jaguars. Kickoff is 1:05 p.m.
The Patriots defeated the Steelers, 36-17, in the AFC title game last season.