New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, left, celebrates his touchdown pass to New England Patriots running back Stevan Ridley in the first half of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints Sunday, Oct.13, 2013, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
Tom Brady might be struggling this season but he's still ... Tom Brady. And this fact -- along with all the accolades -- isn't lost on Ben Roethlisberger, the Steelers quarterback who will face off with Brady this Sunday.
"To me, he's the best quarterback in the league and he's done it for a long time," Roethlisberger said earlier this week during a radio appearance. "That's no disrespect to some of these other guys that are doing some amazing things in the NFL right now. But to me, it's about wins and championships -- and he's got more championships than anybody."
And Roethlisberger's no slouch. He has two Super Bowl rings to Brady's three, and he's beaten Brady twice during his career, most recently in 2011 when Pittsburgh finally found a way to beat New England. (Of course, the Steelers lost to the Tim Tebow Broncos in the wild-card game and the Pats returned to the Super Bowl.)
Big Ben is also impressed with that Brady has accomplished this season without most of the playmakers he had a year ago.
"For the first how many weeks of the season he was playing with receivers that nobody had ever really heard of, so you've got to give him credit for getting his team to 6-2," Roethlisberger said. "He's got great vision, he's got big arm strength, a great understanding of offense and defense."
In most years, Steelers-Pats would be a game of the week. In 2013, it's a matchup between a really bad team (Pittsburgh's 2-5 after losing to the Raiders) and an average one that benefits from playing in the AFC East.
Despite the Patriots not looking very Patriots-like this season, the Steelers will have their work cut out for them.
“We knew we dug ourselves a hole, and we were starting to make our way out it,” Roethlisberger said. “Then some dirt started to come back down on us. It’s frustrating because we wanted to stack some wins and get this ship turned around. Not saying we still can’t.”
Pittsburgh faces long odds; the Pats haven't lost at home this season.