This Sunday, banner number 6 will ascend in Gillette Stadium, and the quest for banner number 7 begins. The Patriots kick off the season against the Steelers, a very familiar foe. Ben Roethlisberger has still however, never managed to win a game in Foxborough. Never in his whole career. Now, after losing 2 of his biggest offensive weapons this offseason, he comes in trying to change that.
The Pats defense looked MEAN when the starters played together in the preseason. If that defense that tormented Cam Newton shows up, Big Ben is in for a long day. He’s gonna have Bennett, Winovich, Wise, Simon, Boomtower, and KVN breathing down his neck all night long. Not to mention his best and most lethal target in Juju will be locked up all night by Stephon Gilmore. Their best weapon in this game will be James Conner. This Patriots defense has not been tested against a good running back yet through the preseason. Conner is coming off of a great season, and strong running games did consistently give the Pats struggles last season. Knowing the Steelers, they will panic and abandon the run game way too early, so it should not be too much of a worry. Mike Tomlin is known for soiling himself year in and year out against Bill.
The Steelers on the defensive side of the ball have not been good over the last couple years. They have a good front, and a solid pass rush, but after that they are less than stellar. It will be interesting to see how the Patriots handle the interior rush with David Andrews out for the season. Most likely the versatile backup in Ted Karras will start, who has been around for the last few years and never got much of a chance since the offensive line has been so healthy. They also made the move for Russell Bodine from Buffalo at center, so we will see who gets the start. We know there will be a huge dosage of the backs in this game. Plenty of Sony pounding the ball, James White catching the ball all over the place, and a mix in of Rex Burkhead as well. It will be interesting who is in Brady’s circle of trust from the receiving corp. Nothing about Josh Gordon has been guaranteed, he did not get to play with Demaryius, he was very out of sync with Jakobi Meyers, and that leaves a lot of Jules and Dorsett. They will find a way to get their guys open, but a big part of them crushing the Steelers in past games was related to Gronk’s domination. They will get there guys in situations to succeed, and Tomlin will make no halftime adjustments per usual.
The Steelers have been falling apart over the last few seasons, and have lost a lot of talent because of this. It’s clear they never scare the Pats, and this game will be no different. 27-13 Pats.
-Jake Kobierski (@TheRealKobe83)