NFL fans get an early Christmas present in the form of a potential AFC Championship preview on Sunday, as the New England Patriots (10-3) and Pittsburgh Steelers (11-2) meet at Heinz Field for a massive Week 15 matchup. Both teams are playoff bound, and probably first-round bye bound, but the winner of this one will have the inside track on home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, a major key in making it to Super Bowl LII.
Kickoff is scheduled for 4:25 p.m. ET and will be broadcast in select markets on CBS. When looking for a live stream, the first thing you want to do is to find out if the game is in your market or not, which you can do by checking a coverage map here.
If the game is in your market, you can watch on your computer or on another streaming device by signing up for one of the following cable-free, live-TV streaming services. They cost a monthly fee but all come with a free trial, so you can watch today’s game at no cost:
CBS All Access: This service lets you watch a live stream of your local CBS channel (most markets included) for $5.99 per month. You can sign up for a free 7-day trial right here, and you can watch on your computer via the CBS website, or on your tablet or streaming device via the CBS app.
FuboTV: CBS (live in at least 20 markets) is included in the “Fubo Premier” channel package, which gives you access to 70-plus channels and costs $19.99 per month for the first two months and $39.99 per month after that. It also comes with a free 7-day trial, and you can watch on your computer via the Fubo website, or on your tablet or streaming device via the FuboTV app.
If the game isn’t in your market, you may be able to watch via NFL Sunday Ticket.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is famous for neutralizing an opposing team’s best offensive threat, but with the way Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell are playing, there’s nothing outside of a hungry bear that could stop that trio.
The Steelers have won eight in a row, but the numbers over the last four have been downright silly. During that span, Big Ben has thrown for 361.5 yards per game and a 12-to-3 TD:INT ratio, while Brown and Bell have combined for 18.5 receptions and 305 yards per contest with 10 total scores. For reference, there are seven teams averaging less than 305 yards per game this season.
FiveThirtyEight takes it a step further, noting that Bell and Brown are on pace to combine for 3,930 total yards, which would break their own record for most yards by a RB-WR duo when each tallied at least 1,500. More than Emmitt and Irvin. More than Edgerrin and Harrison. More than Faulk and Holt.
And the Patriots are going to have to slow that down with a defense that just gave up 239 total yards to Kenyan Drake and Jarvis Landry and now ranks 30th in Football Outsiders’ defensive efficiency rankings. It seems like an impossible task for the Pats on the road, but if there’s anything we’ve learned over the past 17 years, it’s that you should always expect Belichick, Tom Brady and the Patriots to find a way to prevail under seemingly insurmountable odds.
While the Pats’ defense struggling at Miami last week was somewhat surprising considering how they had played lately, it was far more shocking to see the offense put up just 20 points and an anemic 4.5 yards per play. They’ll likely need to be better in that regard to keep up with the Steelers, but they’ll get a massive boost in the return of Rob Gronkowski, who is not only a near-impossible cover in the passing game but also opens up the running game with his blocking ability.
“You said it. Gronk is not only one of the most dynamic tight ends but just one of the most dynamic players in the NFL,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. “Obviously his absence is a significant one and his presence is a significant one.”
Put it all together, and a high-scoring shootout is likely, as the over-under is set at a massive 54 points. But even if a defensive grind was expected, the high stakes and playoff implications would still make this a must-watch game.