Perillo: Defenseless Pats 'not a Super Bowl team'

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Perillo: Defenseless Pats 'not a Super Bowl team'

While Tom Brady has gotten a lot of grief for the four interceptions he threw in the Patriots' loss to the Bills Sunday, Paul Perillo of Patriots Football Weekly says the defense's inability to make crucial stops is a far bigger problem for New England.

"We're going back four, and maybe even five, years to the Super Bowl loss to the Giants in Arizona," Perillo said on 'Mohegan Sun Sports Tonight'. "This defense has not stepped up and bailed the offense out and won a game when Tom Brady has not been perfect for a long, long time. Until that changes, you are now the Colts . . . You're one of those offensive teams that when you don't have the offense clicking perfectly, you can't win. And until that changes, this is not a Super Bowl team . . .

"On two of the interceptions, Buffalo took over on the 5 and 4. And the Bills went 95 and 96 yards for touchdowns on both drives. You can't do that.

"You look at the end of the day and this nifty little stat: 24 points off the turnovers. But, really, when you have a 95-yard drive and a 96-yard drive for touchdowns, that's 14 of those points. Those weren't off of turnovers. They just happened to coincidentally come after a turnover; it wasn't as a result of the turnover."

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)