The 2015 NFL season begins on Thursday with the defending champions New England Patriots hosting the Pittsburgh Steelers at Gillette Stadium. The game is scheduled to kick-off at 8:30 PM. ET.
NFL fans have been eagerly anticipating the start of the season, and this game could be a preview of a playoff matchup, which should make it a very exciting game.
Steelers vs Patriots Betting Lines
The offseason has been a very interesting one for the Patriots, with the Deflategate scandal dominating the news over the summer. Quarterback Tom Brady was initially suspended for the first four games of the season by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, but the suspension was overturned by a judge last week, which means the Patriots will have their Pro Bowl quarterback available for their season opener.
The Pittsburgh Steelers on the other hand will be a little shorthanded going into this game. Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey injured his leg in the preseason and isn’t expected to be back in the lineup until after week 9. Running back LeVeon Bell was suspended by the league for the first two games of the season as punishment for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy, and wide receiver Martavis Bryant, will miss the first four games of the season for violating the substance-abuse policy.
So, what do the injuries and suspension mean for the Steelers this season? At this point, it is hard to say, but they are likely going to struggle early in the season. Pouncey is the anchor of their offensive line, and he will be hard to replace, but the player they will miss the most in this game is going to be LeVeon Bell, who emerged as their lead rusher late last season. Without an effective running game, Ben Roethlisberger will be forced to throw the ball more than he wants, and it will make their offense one dimensional.
Martavis Bryant showed a lot of promise last season and was expected to be a big part of their passing game this season. His suspension means that teams can afford to double up Antonio Brown without worrying about Bryant hurting them.
Even with Brady back in the lineup, the Patriots still have some work to do if they intend to repeat as Super Bowl champions. Brady didn’t get a lot of reps in the preseason and didn’t look very sharp in his limited appearances. He will need to get a rhythm going early in this game to put the Patriots in a position to win.
The Patriots are also dealing with some injury and suspension problems of their own. LeGarrette Blount is suspended for the first game of the season for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy, receiver Brandon LaFell is on the PUP list, which means he will miss at least the first four games of the season, and Julian Edelman is still recovering from an ankle injury he suffered in the preseason.
Both teams are likely going to have trouble moving the ball on the ground in this game, and it will come down to which team has a better passing game.
This is an interesting game to pick because both teams are dealing with injuries at key positions. If you are going to place a bet, the Patriots are the smart choice, because it is opening night, they have their quarterback back in the lineup, and the crowd will be insane. The Steelers were also one of the worst defensive teams in the NFL last season, which means the Patriots should be able to move the ball in this game. I will take New England on the points.
Play: Patriots -7 @ BetOnline.ag