Thursday, September 10, 2015

And We're Back

How did everyone spend their summer? Flew by as usual amiright? So let's start off addressing the elephant at Foxborough. We all know that the collective North North East of the U.S. we know as New England held its breath for nearly the entirety of training camp. New Englanders all finally exhaled last week, creating a significant Southern zephyr, as a Judge overturned Tom Brady's potential four game ban.

Putting any biases towards Brady, the Patriots & Roger Goodell aside, my single largest complaint is the waste of judicial resources in this process. This entire affair involved, lawyers, judges, arbitrators & any number of ancillary officials. When I was a kid, if you cheated or deflated someone else's balls, you either bought them a new one or had to line up and everyone got a free throw to peg you with another ball.

Week 1 - Thursday Night Game:

PIT @ NE (-7)

New England kicks off at home.  Without any real stars at RB or WR, the loquacious Bill "no comment" Belichick looks to continue to produce offensively by committee. Of course, when you have Rob Gronkowski playing TE, your playbook really only needs to be one play, with multiple check downs inserted. On defense, New England should be decent, although noticeably absent will be fan favorite, Vince Wolfolk, who could swallow a gap almost at will. My guess is that the Patriots play a numbers game this year, not worrying too much about points given up, hoping that the offense can always score a bit more.

Pittsburgh, meanwhile, rolls in with a very un-Steelers-like team. Often favored for its staunch defense ("Steel Curtain"), this year's club looks more like a baby blanket. Losing many fan favorites to retirement, this defense is so bad, that when asked about getting the defense ready, long time defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau reportedly said the Korean War was a cakewalk compared to coaching this group. In fact, he resigned from the Steelers in January and took an assistant coaching position with Tennessee a few months later. On offense, however, Pittsburgh has a chance to be very well balanced, maybe even explosive. The Steelers are stocked at WR, with Anotonio Brown looking to lead the league in almost every category. They'll be even better once Martavis Bryant comes back from suspension. Speaking of which, RB Le'Veon Bell will also miss a few games, but when he returns, QB Ben Roethlisberger should have the ability to finally run an excellent play-action game. Until then, just throw downfield to Brown.

Although the Steelers will likely score a lot during this year, don't expect them to be fully up to speed until around week 5, when all their weapons should return. I like the Patriots to take the home opener, with Pittsburgh covering the spread.

Spread: PIT
Straight Up: NE
Score: 27-21

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