For Pittsburgh Steelers fans and the betting public, it is hard to forget the last time these teams met. It was mid-2013, when New England rolled to a 55-31 victory & over 600 total yards.
Thursday, September 10, 2015
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. New England Patriots (-7/51-) 8:30 ET NBC
The Pittsburgh Steelers visit the New England Patriots for the Opening Night of the 2015 NFL regular season. For Pittsburgh Steelers fans, it is hard to forget the last time these teams met. It was mid-2013, when New England rolled to a 55-31 victory and over 600 total yards. It would not surprise this bureau, if there is a replay of that final score. The weather forecast for tonight calls for probable light rain showers with a high in the upper 60s. Simply cannot imagine that slowing down the offenses in this one.
The Steelers enter this game a bit short-handed. Starting (C) Maurkice Pouncey (ankle) was injured early in the preseason and is not eligible to return until week 12. He anchors the offensive line. Furthermore, skill position players, (RB) Bell and (WR) Bryant, have been suspended for this game (stupidity and immaturity). By this time, everyone is aware that QB Michael Vick has been signed by the Steelers to replace former, backup QB Gradkowski and that New England QB, Tom Brady, has had his suspension lifted by court order.
That sets the stage for Brady to return as a hero to the New England area. Much like the previous time when the Patriots were called on the NFL carpet for their shenanigans with the NY Jets, look for Brady to author a huge performance in restoring his reputation, after the fallout that was “Deflategate.” The Pittsburgh Steelers’ defense will be a willing victim. Gone from the Pittsburgh Steelers are a trio of key veteran starters from years gone by in the persons of Troy Polamalu, Ike Taylor and Jason Worilds. Perhaps more importantly, however, is the loss of long-time DC LeBeau, who has matriculated to Tennessee to reunite with current Titans’ HC Whisenhunt with whom he teamed as fellow coordinator in a Steelers’ Super Bowl season. His retirement from the Steelers, but continued employment in the NFL, speaks volumes about his opinion of the Pittsburgh defense this season. Though it was only preseason in the Week 3 “Dress Rehearsal” vs. Buffalo, the “Steel Curtain” allowed the Bills to hang 43 points. Imagine what Brady will do tonight!?!
All the above ignores the fact that the Steelers have often played their best under prime time lights and that QB Roethlisberger is an impressive 16-11 SU, 17-10 ATS as an underdog of 3 or more points.
The bottom line is that although Pittsburgh may get their points, some of which may come when the game is out of hand, it is doubtful that they are able to trade from the outset with a highly-motivated New England team who looks to continue the success of Super Bowl Champions when playing the opening game of the following season on their home field. In a high-scoring game, lay the points and play the OVER with your NFL picks.
NFL Picks: Patriots & Over