It’s that time! Time for the NFL season to kickoff! This is a day I normally wait for like a kid waits for Christmas. This year my excitement has been dampened just a tad because the Steelers open the season tonight against the Patriots. In Foxborough. Following an offseason that brought more cheating accusations, this time against Tom Brady for deflating footballs. Following a new ESPN story revealing more details regarding Spygate. Because playing the Patriots in Foxborough isn’t bad enough, now the Steelers get to play the Patriots who have a giant chip on their shoulder. This should be fun!
The Patriots are the reigning Super Bowl champions. Did they cheat their way to another Super Bowl title? Maybe, but unless they were paying Pete Carroll to call the opposite call that every other person who’s ever watched a football game would have called, they probably beat the Seahawks fair and square. Probably.
The Steelers are coming off a surprising 11-5 season. A definite improvement over back-to-back 8-8 seasons, but still a disappointing ending. Losing a playoff game to the Ravens at home is the stuff of nightmares for most Steelers fans.
How the Steelers can win this game:
- The offense gets the ball last in a shootout.
- Tired of the Patriots alleged cheating, the NFL decides their opponents will be awarded 11 points per touchdown and 5 points per field goal.
- James Harrison knocks Brady out of the game on the Patriots’ first series.
How the Patriots can win this game:
- They show up.
I don’t mean to sound so pessimistic and stranger things have happened (maybe), but the Steelers have had trouble with Brady and the Patriots when they had good defenses. Brady going against this defense could be the plot of a horror film targeted towards a very specific audience.
However, the Steelers’ offense is really, really good. Unfortunately, they are missing two big playmakers in Bell and Bryant and that will hamper them. Though the Patriots don’t have anyone who can cover AB effectively.
The best strategy the Steelers could have is the same one they employed when beating the Patriots in 2011: sustained long offensive drives. In that game, the Steelers possessed the ball for over 39 minutes. Keeping the ball out of Brady’s hands is key to the Steelers having a shot in this game. Of course the Steelers had a better defense in 2011 that forced some 3-and-outs. I don’t see this defense doing that much. But with the Steelers having a better offense, maybe they’ll be able to overcome some of their defensive issues?
It’s Brady and Belichick in Foxborough. Gonna be a long night for the Steelers. Patriots 45, Steelers 31.