Seahawks DB's will use height to their advantage

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Seahawks DB's will use height to their advantage

FOXBORO -- Three of Seattle's starting four defensive backs are 6-foot-3 or taller.

That presents a much-different look for any offense in the NFL. And this Sunday, it will be no different, as the Patriots travel to the West Coast to take on the Seahawks.

"These guys are long, they're big," said Patriots coach Bill Belichick on Wednesday. "They're extremely long, 6-4, 6-2, 6-3 corners. You just don't see those very often. And to see them on one team, they're just hard to get away from. They're big, they're physical. They take up a lot of space. A lot of guys are just not used to working against that size player, 220-pound corners. There's not a lot of them out there. I think that's a challenge, because it's a little bit unique. They're also good tacklers, good run-force players."

Safety Kam Chancellor and cornerback Richard Sherman are both 6-foot-3, while cornerback Brandon Browner is 6-foot-4.

Belichick believes they use that size to their advantage, and don't run the most complicated defensive schemes in the world. because they stick to what they do so well, he also believes that Tom Brady's no-huddle offense won't change the Seahawks' defensive schemes too much.

"For the quarterback, it's hard, because it's no different than playing against a taller middle linebacker, a guy like Urlacher or somebody like that in there at 6-4, 6-5 in the middle of the field," said Belichick. "Their range and their height just makes those throws in the middle a little tougher. Well, when you're throwing the ball outside on a 6-2,-6-4 corner, it's a little different deal, getting it over on him . . . It's just a much bigger guy."

Patriots-Steelers injury report: Seven Pats listed as questionable

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Patriots-Steelers injury report: Seven Pats listed as questionable

FOXBORO -- The Patriots will head into Sunday's AFC title game with seven players listed as questionable, including three receivers. 

Danny Amendola, Malcolm Mitchell and Chris Hogan have all been limited in practices this week due to their injuries. Amendola has been dealing with an ankle issue since a Week 13 win over the Rams, while Mitchell has not played since injuring his knee in Week 16 against the Jets. Hogan suffered a thigh injury against the Texans and left the game in the third quarter.

Both Hogan and Mitchell indicated this week that they were moving in the right direction in terms of their recoveries. One would think that the Patriots would need at least one, if not both, to help stress the back end of the Steelers secondary this weekend.

Hogan has been the team's most consistent down-the-field threat this season, averaging a whopping 17.9 yards per catch during the regular season. Against the Texans, before his injury, he reeled in four passes for 95 yards. 

Mitchell, meanwhile, had a very productive second half of his rookie season before he was hurt. He compiled 25 catches for 306 yards between Weeks 11 and 16, establishing himself as one of Tom Brady's go-to targets. 

The overall health of the Patriots receiving corps -- which will also include Julian Edelman and Michael Floyd -- will bear watching when the Patriots and Steelers kick off in two days.

The injury report for Sunday's Patriots-Steelers game:

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

QUESTIONABLE
WR Danny Amendola (ankle)
TE Martellus Bennett (knee)
RB Brandon Bolden (knee)
LB Dont'a Hightower (shoulder)
WR Chris Hogan (thigh)
WR Malcolm Mitchell (knee)
DL Jabaal Sheard (knee)

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

QUESTIONABLE
TE Ladarius Green (concussion/illness)
LB James Harrison (shoulder/triceps)
RB Fitzgerald Toussaint (concussion)

NOT LISTED
RB Le'Veon Bell (not injury related)
K Chris Boswell (illness)
LB Anthony Chickillo (ankle)
S Sean Davis (shoulder)
C B.J. Finney (illness)
WR Darrius Heyward-Bay (illness)
DE Ricardo Mathews (ankle)
QB Zach Mettenberger (illness)
S Michael Mitchell (not injury related)
QB Ben Roethlisberger (not injury related)
LB Vince Williams (shoulder)