FOXBORO -- Don't try to tell Bill Belichick that the confidence of his upcoming opponent might be waning. 

These are the Steelers we're talking about here, seemed to be Belichick's contention. Confidence? These guys? 

Despite three consecutive losses -- all one-score games to the Broncos, Chargers and Raiders -- Belichick said that he's expecting the same team the Patriots have seen for years in Pittsburgh.

"I think if you guys were around competitive guys you wouldn't see that," Belichick said. "I don't really see that. I wouldn't give that any credibility at all. 

"Competitive people compete. That's what they do. Certainly that's what the Steelers are. I'm sure we'll get their best. I think they'll get our best."

The question of confidence is an interesting one because it might as well apply to Belichick's team at the moment. Though they haven't had to deal with nearly a month of heart-breakers the way the Steelers have, the Patriots are coming off of the ultimate gut-punch on a last-second miracle in Miami and they're about to play a talented team on the road in a season where they've struggled away from Gillette Stadium.

Still, the same answer would likely apply. Competitive people compete. We'll likely have learned a little bit about the competitiveness of both the Patriots and Steelers once they're done on Sunday night.

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