Was there any question what the top game was going to be? Despite wanting to keep all the focus on the field, this is going to be a circus of epic proportions. You have the defending Super Bowl champions – who everybody outside of New England believes cheated in some fashion – against the Pittsburgh Steelers on national television at the belly of the beast.
NBC must be unbelievably excited for the ratings that this will pull in. The Patriots are going to be doing everything imaginable to stick it to the rest of the NFL this season, and what better place to start than at home, on national television, with Tom Brady going insane against a horrific Steelers defense? New England could be up 56-0 in the fourth quarter, and head coach Bill Belichick will have it in the no-huddle.
Pittsburgh is going to be up against the odds in this game, with Martavis Bryant and Le’Veon Bell both suspended. Additionally, All-Pro center Maurkice Pouncey is rehabbing from an ankle injury, only adding more problems for head coach Mike Tomlin. Look for Ben Roethlisberger to throw early and often, looking to make this game an old fashioned shootout.
TV: NBC (Thurs); 8 p.m. ET
Odds: NE (-7)