2015 NFL Season Begins: Can the Steelers Knock The Chip Off Brady's Shoulder?
It has been a long spring and summer without NFL Football, but tonight the 2015 season kicks off with the defending NFL Champion New England Patriots hosting the defending AFC North Champion Pittsburgh Steelers.
Patriots Integrity in Question Again
The Patriots have been the talk of the NFL for months, but not because they won Super Bowl 49 in February. Once again their integrity has been questioned, as it has been for much of this century. QB Tom Brady was suspended for 4 games because of his failure to cooperate with concerns over the “deflate gate” controversy. The suspension was overturned by a New York Judge and Brady will start tonight against the Steelers.
Brady Said To Have Chip on His Shoulder
Many football experts are proclaiming that Brady will be playing with a chip on his shoulder tonight because of the way he was treated during the off season. The Patriots and Brady legacy may or may not be tarnished by their desire to “push the envelop” and tread a fine line in an integral approach to the game. If this has placed a chip on Brady's shoulder, than so be it. The question is can the Steelers knock that chip off or will the Patriots make a statement?
Both of these teams have outstanding quarterbacks in Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger. The Patriots are sticking with the 2 tight end set because of their lack of wide receiver depth. They will be hanging their hat on the efforts of Rob Gronkowski and Scott Chandler to pull in as many receptions as possible.
The Steelers are without WR Bryant, RB Bell, and C Pouncey. However, they did pick up DeAngelo Williams to fill the void of Bell and WR Antonio Brown may be the best receiver in the game. WR Marcus Wheaton is vastly improved and WR Heyward-Bey will try to take some of the heat off of these 2. Both of these offenses have the ability to put up points; it is the defenses that raise the biggest question.
Pittsburgh has a new defensive coordinator in Keith Butler. Their defense did not look impressive in the preseason, but in fairness, the starting unit rarely all played together at one time. The Steelers have long operated with a 3-4 defense, but this year have changed to the 4-3. Pittsburgh has failed to pressure opposing QB's for the last several years and they will definitely need to pressure Brady if they have any chance of winning tonight. They will be counting on Heyward, Moates, Tuitt, and Jones to do just that. The big question on the Steelers is their secondary. This unit will have to perform well tonight as well.
New England is playing with a revamped secondary too. Brown, Fletcher, and Ryan have replaced Revis, Browner and Arrington. The Patriots are hoping that Malcolm Butler will pick up where he left off when he made the game winning interception off of Russell Wilson in Super Bowl 49. They are expecting their defensive line to be lead by Dominique Easly, but Big Ben is one of the hardest QB's to bring down in the NFL.
I believe that the team that plays the best defense tonight will win. Brady has never performed well under pressure, but they normally do a good job of protecting him. Roethlisberger consistently produces the best numbers under pressure in the league. Whichever team can keep the other offense off the field longer is going to prevail in this one. I think that Pittsburgh has not shown their complete hand with their defense yet. On the other hand, we all know that New England Coach Belichick always has a “trick” up his sleeve.
I like Pittsburgh in an upset 31-30.