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Steelers

Steelers will visit Patriots if they beat Jacksonville

Joe Rutter
| Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018, 11:42 p.m.
FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 13:  Rob Gronkowski #87 of the New England Patriots is tackled after catching a touchdown pass by Kevin Byard #31 of the Tennessee Titans during the fourth quarter  in the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Gillette Stadium on January 13, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 13: Rob Gronkowski #87 of the New England Patriots is tackled after catching a touchdown pass by Kevin Byard #31 of the Tennessee Titans during the fourth quarter in the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Gillette Stadium on January 13, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

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.

Joe Rutter is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at jrutter@tribweb.com or via Twitter @tribjoerutter.

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