Pittsburgh (0-0) at New England (0-0)
When: Thursday, September 10th 2015
Where: Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, MA
Time: 8:30 ET
TV: NBC Radio: XM 225, 226, 88
The NFL season finally kicks off tonight as the Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots host the Pittsburgh Steelers. It should be a festive atmosphere in Gillette Stadium tonight not only for the pre-game ceremony celebrating the Super Bowl, but for the return of Tom Brady, who’s suspension was overturned by a federal judge. Brady will probably come out firing against a below average Steelers defense. The Patriots will be without RB LeGarrette Blount, who is suspended for 1 game on marijuana charges. Brandon Bolden will start in his place. Bolden only ran the ball 28 times last year for 89 yards, so expect a lot of passing tonight from the Patriots. Wide Receiver Julian Edelman looks like he will play tonight despite not playing at all in the preseason. He has 197 receptions over the last 2 seasons. The Patriots will be thinner on defense with the loss of both starting cornerbacks, Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner.
The Steelers come into this game the same as New England. Potent on offense, but shaky on defense. They are led by of course Big Ben Roethlisberger and outstanding wide receiver Antonio Brown. Big Ben had one of his best years last season throwing for 32 touchdowns to only 9 interceptions. Brown caught an amazing 129 passes last year and 13 touchdowns. The Steelers will also be without their starting running back. Le’Veon Bell is serving a 2-game suspension for his marijuana charge. Former Panther D’Angelo Williams will fill in for Bell, but look for Roethlisberger to throw as much as Brady does tonight. I however, wouldn’t be shocked to see some big runs out of Williams tonight to keep the Patriots defense honest. Keith Butler takes over the defensive coordinator duties from long-time DC Dick LeBeau, who resigned in the offseason. The Steelers ranked near the bottom of the league in most defensive categories last year.
There will be a lot of emotion on the Patriots side tonight, maybe too much. Brady will settle in and have a typical big game, but I believe that Roethlisberger and the Steelers offense can hang around long enough to not only cover the spread, but maybe win outright.
Pick: Steelers +7