The time has finally come. Our beloved New England Patriots look to defend their Superbowl title starting tomorrow night against the conference rival Pittsburgh Steelers. After a tumultuous offseason featuring PSI and the rehashing of news that happened 8 years ago, expect the Pats to come out firing on all cylinders. Let’s go around the horn and see what the BBS Staff expects to happen come 8:30 tomorrow night.
Tom Brady: Over/Under 300 passing yards?
Niko: OVER. Tommy B is free at last and is going to sling it. I expect the game plan to be pass heavy and while I am slightly concerned about receiver depth sans Brandon Lafell, I like the pass catching backs (Lewis, White, Cadet) and Scott Chandler flanking Gronk.
Pete: OVER. I am actually going to say that he is going to be closer to 500 yards than he will be to 300 yards. Tom Brady is going to tear through this Steelers secondary like it is a piece of really good steak. Our receiving core isn't fully healthy yet, but the Steelers defensive backs are terrible.
Spencer: Over: Touchdown Tommy will be looking to make a statement in this first game. I think he will be targeting shorter screen passes with the absence of Lafell, and definitely throwing to Gronk in the Redzone.
Ben Roethlisberger: Over/Under 300 passing yards?
Niko: Unfortunately I’m going OVER here too. With Bell out, and a Pats secondary in transition, Ben should pick up significant chunks of yards tomorrow night through the air.
Pete: I am going to go UNDER, but barely. I think Big Ben will be between 275-290 passing yards, but I think that the pass rush will be just a little too much for him to handle.
Spencer: Under. Even with the question marks about the secondary right now, I don’t see big Ben putting up huge numbers. I think the pass rush will bother him and I see him getting around 150 passing yards.
Rob Gronkowski: Over/Under 90 yards and .5 TDs?
Niko: I’ll take the UNDER on yards, but I think Gronk scores twice tomorrow night, so I’ll go OVER on the end zone appearance. Don’t get me wrong, God knows Pitt can’t and won’t stop Gronk, but I think they’ll use enough resources on him to keep him comfortably under the century mark.
Pete: Like Niko, I am going to go UNDER on yards, but OVER on touchdowns. Gronk hasn't played all preseason, so he may be a little rusty out of the gate. However, he is the biggest redone threat in the entire NFL, so I feel pretty confident that he will get at least 1 TD.
Spencer: I say under on yards and over on .5 TDs. I easily would be surprised to see Gronk being thrown into in the Redzone 4-5 times and scoring 2-3.
Julian Edelman: Over/Under 8.5 catches?
Niko: UNDER, but just barely. Incredelman will end up with 6+ catches, but I think Brady will spread the ball around enough to where Minitron doesn’t get over 8 catches. Wouldn’t be surprised to see an end around though…
Pete: I think that I will take the OVER, but I am reluctant to say so. Like Gronk, Edelman hasn't played the entire preseason. He was out with a nagging injury, but he is the top receiving threat, aside from Gronk, on the Pats. I think Brady will try and get him some easy slant route catches early in the game to warm him up.
Spencer: Over I think Edelman will be thrown to quite a bit in what I predict will be a mostly passing game from the Patriots. I wouldn’t be surpsied if Edelman ended up with 10+ catches.
Antonio Brown: Over/Under 90 yards and .5 TDs?
Niko: For starters, I expect Belicheck/Patricia to have Tarrell Brown begin the game covering his namesake with McCourty’s help over the top. That being said, I’ll give Brown the OVER on yards as I think he’ll have his way with whoever happens to be across from him. I’ll take the UNDER on the touchdown though. Bend, but don’t break baby.
Pete: I think that Antonio Brown is going to have a big game. Martavias Bryant being suspended gives the Patriots the ability to double team Brown, but I still think that he will be able to persevere. I may be pleasantly surprised, and it wouldn't shock me if I was, but I guess we will see.
Spencer: I am agreeing with Niko on this one. Brown will have a big game inidviudally with yards, but I don’t see him scoring.
Game Total: Over/Under 51.5 points?
Niko: I’m actually going UNDER here, by a hair. I think there will be enough uncertainty with suspensions (Blount, Bell, Bryant), injuries (Stork? Pouncey), and early season jitters to keep these teams from finding their rhythm right off the bat. I’ll take Pats 31-20.
Pete: I am going to go over, and it wouldn't surprise me if it was by a lot. Neither team has a spectacular defense, but I really don't think that the Steelers are going to be able to keep up with the Patriots. I see the Patriots being able just enough key stops on defense (which could be their namesake for the entire season) to pull out ahead early in the second half. Pats 42-20
Spencer: Under. I don’t see a huge game out of the Steelers. My prediction is Pats 28-14.