Sunday Night Football makes its return this week, and there is a terrific matchup scheduled in week one. The New England Patriots will be hosting the Pittsburgh Steelers in a potential playoff preview. The Patriots have been the standard of excellence in the NFL in the last 20 years, but the Steelers aren’t too far behind. New England and Pittsburgh have now each won a record six Super Bowl championships in their team’s history.
The New England Patriots won their record-tying sixth Super Bowl just a season ago, and they will be looking to defend their title this season. The Patriots have had many players come and go in the last two decades, but Tom Brady and Bill Belichick remain. Pittsburgh missed out on the playoffs a season ago, and their whole season was a mess. The Steelers play in an extremely competitive AFC North Division, and making the playoffs in 2019 will not be an easy task. The New England Patriots are -5.0 point favorites over the Steelers in this game.
Steelers Offense Will Look Different
The Pittsburgh Steelers will have a new-look offense this season with both Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell no longer with the team. These two players were two of the best at their positions, but they also caused plenty of unwanted drama. James Conner filled in nicely at running back for the Steelers a season ago, surpassing 1,000 rushing yards on the season. Ben Roethlisberger is always a threat to throw for 5,000 yards in a season, and the Steelers will still put up some points. The Patriots will do all they can to not allow Big Ben to beat them, and this might be a huge game for Conner.
The defense used to be the calling card of the Pittsburgh Steelers, but that wasn’t the case in 2018. The Steelers struggled to defend the run, and they just haven’t been the same team since the neck injury to Ryan Shazier. Pittsburgh spent a lot of money and draft picks in the offseason trying to improve their defense, but they will get a nice test in week 1. Head coach Mike Tomlin has expressed his frustration with how poorly his defense played in 2018, and you have to expect them to look much better in this game.
Patriots Will Have Plenty of Weapons
The New England Patriots very rarely go out and spend a ton of money, but they always seem to have plenty of weapons for Tom Brady to throw the ball to. Demaryius Thomas just recently re-signed a deal with the New England Patriots, and he should have a big year in New England. Running back Sony Michel ran for over 950 yards a season ago, and should be in for another big season, and James White is always a threat out of the backfield.
The defense of the Patriots doesn’t always get a ton of credit, but they put on a show in the Super Bowl. New England held the Los Angeles Rams to just three points en route to victory, and they should be even better this season. Michael Bennett was brought in, and should be a monster on defense, and the Patriots are always prepared under Belichick. Linebacker Kyle Van Noy was the leader of this defense a season ago, and had 92 total tackles.
Patriots Look Sharp in Season Opening Win
The New England Patriots usually don’t hit their stride until later in the season, but that won’t be the case this season. New England looked impressive in the preseason, and returns much of the same roster from a Super Bowl run a season ago. The Steelers will be much better this season as well, but this is a tough test for them. Pittsburgh will keep this game close, but the Patriots will eventually pull away. Bet the New England Patriots -5.0 over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Take the Patriots at our favorite pay per head bookie site at A1PPH.com.
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