Brady: No 'magic dust' to beat Steelers

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Brady: No 'magic dust' to beat Steelers

FOXBORO Good defense, bad defense. It doesn't really matter.

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and the high-powered Patriots offense have been equal opportunity destroyers of defenses all season.

Even the Pittsburgh Steelers, a team whose defense has consistently been among the NFL's best for years, isn't immune to being lit up by the Brady bunch.

"It's just execution, guys getting open and us completing them," Brady said. "There's no special thing we do. There's no magic dust we put in our cereal in the morning, or anything like that. We just play really well, and that does pretty well against any defense."

Maybe so, but what makes New England's success so surprising is that much of it comes in the passing game -- an area where most teams struggle against Pittsburgh.

The Steelers come into Sunday's game with a defense ranked No. 3 in the NFL, and a pass defense that's giving up an NFL-low 171.9 yards through the air per game.

Meanwhile, New England counters with an aerial attack that's generating an NFL-best 350.5 yards per game.

And adding to the challenge will be the location: Heinz Field. It's a place where many a team has entered only to leave battered, bruised and defeated.

Brady admits that if the Patriots aren't careful, the crowd can become a factor.

"We always talk about, night before the game, in the meeting room, look around and say, 'This is all we got. This is all we need.' " Brady said. "If we make good plays, the crowd is not going to be a factor. If we don't, you better believe they'll be there all day long."

They certainly played a role in a 34-20 loss in 2004, the last time the Pats lost on Heinz Field.

"The better we play, the less factor they will be and there's less margin for error," Brady said. "You're playing in a place where you're very unfamiliar, and you're playing, they got their crowd noise, and they got a lot of energy is kind of, kind of focused on the home team."

As much as the Black and Gold fans will have their say, ultimately the game will be won -- or lost -- by the players on the field.

"Like in '08, we didn't play well and they kicked the crap out of us," Brady said. "In '04 they kicked the crap out of us. You gotta go in expecting to play our best game. If we don't, it's a long hard day. If we do, then we're confident we can get a win."

Ohio State LB on Belichick: 'When you first meet him, you're scared'

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Ohio State LB on Belichick: 'When you first meet him, you're scared'

Even for some of the nation's top athletes, confident 20-somethings with the rest of their (perhaps very lucrative) lives ahead of them, there's a feeling you just can't shake when Bill Belichick walks into the room. 

"When you first meet him, you're scared," said Ohio State linebacker Raekwon McMillan, per WBZ. "He's quizzing you. It's like a little test. But after you get done with the test, the quiz or whatever, drawing up the defense, it's pretty cool. They're real down to earth people. Really cool."

Belichick was spotted at Ohio State's pro day getting a closer look at McMillan and his teammates on Thursday. He then headed off to Ann Arbor, Michigan for the Wolverines showcase Friday.

During various scouting trips across the country, the Patriots appear to be showing significant interest in the incoming class of linebackers. Belichick spent some extra time with Vanderbilt's Zach Cunningham -- who's projected to be a first-rounder -- at his pro day. The team reportedly scheduled a meeting with a speedy linebacker from Cincinnati. And Matt Patricia caught up with Notre Dame linebacker James Onwualu once his workouts finished up on Thursday. 

As for McMillan, the 6-2, 240-pounder was a second-team All-American and a first-team All-Big Ten choice. He's instinctive, but there's some question as to whether or not he has the strength to hold up inside at the next level.

PODCAST: Dan Wetzel on the Aaron Hernandez double-murder trial

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PODCAST: Dan Wetzel on the Aaron Hernandez double-murder trial

Tom E. Curran has Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports as a guest to discuss the Aaron Hernandez double homicide trial. Wetzel has been in the courtroom, and wrote this piece about the day Hernandez’s former friend Alexander Bradley testified in court. 

After speaking with Wetzel, Curran has Tim Rohan of MMQB.com on to discuss his day with ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

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