As the Philadelphia Eagles prepare to face the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday in a game that is expected to be viewed as the game of the century, a new question has arisen.
The Eagles are facing a Pittsburgh team that has lost five straight and five of six.
How will they respond?
And with the Patriots set to play the Denver Broncos on Sunday, how will this game compare to past games against the Steelers?
Let’s take a look.
— How will the Eagles respond?
The Eagles’ defense has been an issue.
The Steelers are allowing 4.4 yards per carry to opposing running backs, the second-highest mark in the NFL.
That figure ranks them 13th in the league.
The defense has allowed the fewest points in the last 10 games, averaging 3.4 per game.
The Patriots are tied for the NFL lead with 11 interceptions, including three in Sunday’s game.
— Will the Eagles make it tough for Pittsburgh?
New England is also tied for seventh in the AFC in points allowed per game (13.5), but that number drops to 3.8 when the Eagles face them.
That’s a huge gap in points against, with the Steelers having allowed just three more points in games this season.
— Can the Eagles turn it around?
Philadelphia has the league’s sixth-best rushing attack with DeMarco Murray, but he’s been unable to break into the starting lineup, despite a productive rookie season.
Murray has missed eight games with a knee injury.
Murray’s absence has been a concern for coach Chip Kelly, who is counting on the speedy Murray to make an impact.
Murray was not expected to play Sunday against the Broncos, but the Eagles’ quarterback is a rookie and the team has been relying on Murray to be the focal point of their offense.
— Why do the Eagles need to be aggressive?
The biggest concern is how the Eagles defense will react to an offense that ranks sixth in the nation in rushing yards per game, with nearly 300.
It ranks eighth in the conference.
The Titans are fifth in rushing with a league-high 328.5 yards per contest, but their rushing yards average of 5.4 is the league-worst.
The Giants, with five of their top six scorers in the running game, are third in the country with 971.2 yards per team, while the Eagles rank 27th in scoring at 5.9 per game and have scored just 24 points in seven games.
— What’s the latest on the Patriots and Brady?
The Patriots have won five straight in this series, including a victory last season at Gillette Stadium.
The Jets and Falcons are tied with four victories each.
The Panthers and Falcons have played in five straight meetings.
— Who will be the beneficiary of this matchup?
The Steelers have been the better team in the series, going 9-3 and leading by as many as 17 points in each game.
Pittsburgh has not won a playoff game since 2010.
The Pats have a winning record in four straight, but they have played better football against the Eagles.
— Which players will benefit?
Ryan Fitzpatrick is expected back in the lineup.
He missed the previous four games with an ankle injury and is expected Sunday against an Eagles defense that has given up a league high 29 touchdown passes.
The Broncos have struggled to generate passing touchdowns and have allowed more than 300 rushing yards in each of their last five games.
If the Steelers can’t stop Brady, it could be difficult for the Eagles to make up ground.
— Where will the Steelers rank on the list of teams to watch?
The Titans have won seven straight games against Atlanta, but have not beaten the Patriots since 1999.
The Bills have lost five of seven, and the Jets have won four of five.
The Dolphins are tied at second place, while Oakland is sixth.
The Raiders are the only team with a winning season and a winning conference record.
— Are the Patriots in the NFC East?
The Panthers are the favorites to win the NFC South, but it will be tough for the Patriots to overcome the Patriots’ defensive struggles.
New England ranks sixth against the run, eighth against the pass and 10th against the third-down offense.
The Falcons are fourth against the passing game, but rank 17th in yards per attempt and 20th in points per game allowed.
— If the Eagles can’t make the Patriots pay, will the Patriots turn it over to the Panthers?
They have had some success converting turnovers into points, but that was not the case against Pittsburgh last season.
The last time the Eagles made it past the Patriots, Brady threw a pick-six.
Brady’s streak of winning the Super Bowl against New England ended with a 38-31 loss in New England on Jan. 6, 2018.
The NFL record for consecutive victories against New York is 43.
Brady will have his work cut out for him in Sunday.
— Is the Eagles the favorite?
The Seahawks are the favorite to win this series for the third time in four seasons.