The NFL season starts off with a bang as the defending Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots host the Pittsburgh Steelers at Gillette Stadium. Tom Brady will not be playing in this game due to suspension. Can New England overcome the loss of Brady to a veteran team with talent such as Pittsburgh? See who we like to win and cover the opener.
Kickoff is scheduled for Thursday 8:30 p.m. EST, September 10th, at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. This can be seen nationally on the NBC Network. According to 5Dimes, the Patriots are a 3-point betting favorite and the total for the game is listed at 48.5 -105. This total appears to be a little higher than I expected as Tom Brady will be sitting this game out and New England could experience some difficulties offensively.
Great Spot For Pittsburgh
Oddsmakers are going to give the respect to New England who actually should've lost last year's Super Bowl against Seattle. The New England Patriots are also without key players in Darrelle Revis and Vince Wilfork.
Revis Island got his Super Bowl ring and went back to New York, the place where he always wanted to be and the Patriots and long time nose tackle, Vince Wilfork, parted ways on good terms.
These two losses will be huge for New England. New England has also lost Stevan Ridley to the New York Jets. Although Ridley had a tenedency to fumble the football, he was the Patriots' best pure running back and Shane Vereen, who moved on to the New York Giants, was a running back that was used for catching out of the backfield.
Paper Thin At RB
We know that New England will need to throw the football as LeGarrette Blount and Jonas Gray are the Pats two top backs. Let's remember, Pittsburgh cut Blount in the middle of last season and Gray had one huge 200 plus yard game, but was rarely used by head coach Bill Belichick.
The Patriots will be forced to pass and backup quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo, will be in a position that he has never been in before, Garoppolo threw for 182 yards and 1 TD last season. The key to this game will be "Can Garoppolo deliver the football to players such as Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman, and Brandon LaFell?" Garoppolo is underrated, but I don't see him being able to match Ben Rothliesberger pass for pass.
Best QB to RB to WR Combination in the NFL
The Pittsburgh Steelers had high hopes in the latter stages of last season and Le'Veon Bell went down with a season ending injury. Without a strong running back, Pittsburgh's hopes went down along with Bell. I expect to see a lot of Le'Veon Bell in this game as Bell was a player that rushed and caught for over a combined 2000 yards last season to go along with 11 touchdowns. Bell takes the pressure off of Big Ben and when Roethlisberger isn't looking for Bell,
Antonio Brown is the big play receiver that should make a dramatic impact in week 1. Brown had 129 receptions, 1698 yards receiving, and 13 TD's last season. These are unheard of numbers and he makes big plays along with wide receiver Martavis Bryant.
This is quite simple. New England doesn't have the manpower to compete with Pittsburgh. They've lost a bunch of key players and without number 12 behind center, Pittsburgh is going to win this game quite easily.
NFL Pick: Pittsburgh Steelers +3 at 5Dimes