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Big Ben: Patriots are the dragon we're trying to slay

The Pittsburgh Steelers face the daunting task of traveling to Foxborough on Sunday to take on Tom Brady and the New England Patriots for the right to represent the AFC in Super Bowl LI.

"It's the championship game. You've got one game to get to the Super Bowl. Like I said, you're going up to the lion's den, the dragon's lair," Ben Roethlisberger said Wednesday. "They're the dragon and we're trying to slay them. It doesn't matter who it is, but as I said they're the gold standard.

We'll assume Tom Brady plays the role of Daenerys Targaryen in this particular dragon quest.

The Patriots are 16-3 at home in the playoffs under Bill Belichick. Brady has completed 62.1 percent of his passes for 256.7 yards per game and 37 TDs to 18 INTs in those 19 contests. The Pats' last playoff loss at Gillette Stadium came in 2012 versus the Baltimore Ravens. Overall, New England is 33-4 at home since 2013.

"They're the best in the world, they're the gold standard if you will, so you want to have that opportunity to go play the best. It'll be an awesome challenge for us," Roethlisberger said.

When asked if he is in the same standard as Brady, Big Ben replied:

"No, not yet, look at all the Super Bowls he has."

Brady owns four rings. Roethlisberger, two. Brady is playing in his 11th championship game -- the next closest is Joe Montana with seven. Big Ben is playing in his fourth (3-1). Brady is 7-7 against Super Bowl-winning QBs in the playoffs.

A lot of ink and TV time this week will be used comparing Brady and Big Ben, but Roethlisberger noted that quarterback's don't go head-to-head.

"We're not playing tennis, we're going out there to play a football game with 11 guys at the time," he said.

If they Steelers are to go into Foxborough and slay the dragon, Big Ben needs his entire army at their best.

Other Notes from the Steelers' Championship Wednesday pressers:

»Both Roethlisberger and Le'Veon Bell dismissed Antonio Brown's social media flub this week.

"It's water under the bridge," Big Ben said.

Pittsbugh is ready to move on from the overblown issue. The rest of society can too.

»In response to Julian Edelman comment on the Brown video earlier this week -- the Patriots receiver said "that's how that team is run" speaking of the Steelers -- Roethlisberger defended his franchise.

"We've got our trophies out there," he said. "I've got owners that I think are the best in the business. They're family to us, and I'm sure if he talked to his owner, he would say the same thing about the Rooneys. Anybody in here in the football world or the regular world that owns the Rooneys knows what they stand for. It's a blessing to call them a family."

»Bell said in the Week 7 loss to the Patriots (in Pittsburgh), the running game never got on track -- 81 rushing yards for the starter. It's something he'd like to change this time around.

The fact that Roethlisberger is suiting up for the Steelers this go around (Landry Jones got the start in Week 7) will make it more difficult for New England to stack the box versus Bell.

»Steelers safety Mike Mitchell discussed the difficulty in disguising a defense when facing Brady.

"He's the best to do it," Mitchell said of TB12. "You have to be very disciplined in every look that you give him. I always say he's the type of guy that if you do a certain thing with your right foot up and your left foot is up this time, he knows it's going to be different. So you have to be very mindful in every way that you move. You don't want to move too soon, too early."

Mitchell also noted Brady's ability to move the deep safety after the snap. "It would be me in this game," he said.

»The Steelers' defense has come on strong down the stretch thanks to the stellar play of rookie safety Sean Davis and corner Artie Burns. Mitchell said he wouldn't be telling the rookies anything different this week than he's preached all season.

"I say the same things I've been saying since the beginning," Mitchell said. "You don't take anything for granted. You come to work every single day and do today's work. Today we're focused on Wednesday and getting Wednesday's work done. And then we'll do that Thursday, Friday, Saturday and we'll take care of Sunday when it gets here.... I think when you're playing in bigger games that needs to be more of the mindset."

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