Wednesday, September 9, 2015
NFL - Week One Preview
The Patriots of course have been surrounded by controversy with the "deflate gate" that rocked quarterback Tom Brady during the entire off-season.
However, a judge in New York City ruled in Brady's favor per his appeal after he was given a four-game suspension by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell following the fiasco in last year's AFC Championship game, which New England won 45-7 against the Indianapolis Colts.
All that is (for now pending an NFL appeal of the decision to let Brady play) in the rear view mirror and the Patriots are ready to defend their title against "Big Ben" Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Patriots come into the game with Brady leading the offense and he will no doubt be looking to get the ball to his favorite target, tight end Rob Gronkowski, in the passing game. The Patriots passing game will be extremely important as their top running back, LeGarrette Blount is out for the opener.
On the other side, the Steelers will be without two of their top weapons on offense as well as running back LeVeon Bell (two-game suspension) and wide receiver Martavis Bryant will miss the game.
Roethlisberger will still have his tight end Heath Miller and WR Antonio Brown, who was last year's leading receiver in the NFL.
Both teams suffered some hits to their defenses in the off-season as the Pats lost both starting cornerbacks (Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner) to free agency. In addition, long time (and fan favorite) nose tackle Vince Wilfork wasn't re-signed.
The Steelers have a new defensive coordinator after long time mentor Dick LeBeau left for the Tennessee Titans and they also will be looking to replace perennial All-Pro safety Troy Polamalu, who retired after the 2014 season.
All in all, it should likely be an exciting season opener with the Patriots coming out on top due to the home field advantage and Brady and company playing with the proverbial "chip" on their collective shoulders due to the alleged cheating they did last year.
Remember how they reacted to the "Spy Gate" scandal in 2007?
They went on to go 16-0 in the regular season before being edged out in the Super Bowl by the New York Giants, which ruined their shot at a prefect season.
It's time for football.
PREDICTION - New England 24, Pittsburgh 17
Here are the rest of the Heftyinfo picks for Week One in the NFL . . . (HOME TEAMS are listed in bold and LOCK of the WEEK is listed in BOLD CAPS.)
New England over Pittsburgh
Buffalo over Indianapolis
GREEN BAY over Chicago
Houston over Kansas City
Carolina over Jacksonville
NY Jets over Cleveland
Seattle over St. Louis
Miami over Washington
Arizona over New Orleans
San Diego over Detroit
Denver over Baltimore
Cincinnati over Oakland
Tampa Bay over Tennessee
Dallas over NY Giants
Philadelphia over Atlanta
San Francisco over Minnesota
Last Year's Record: 174-81-1
Last Year's Lock of the Week Record: 15-2