The New England Patriots are set to open up the 2019 NFL season on Sunday night at home against the Pittsburgh Steelers. After winning the Super Bowl last season, the Patriots are looking to add yet another ring to the legacy of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. They have to feel good about the roster they have put together.
Brady is still playing at a high level and is still one of the best quarterbacks in the game. Sony Michel and James White form a deadly duo at the running back position. Josh Gordon, Julian Edelman, Demaryius Thomas, and even N’Keal Harry when he returns are a formidable wide receiver corps.
Needless to say, the Patriots are a team to be reckoned with once again in the AFC.
Kansas City appears to be a serious contender once again. Indianapolis was expected to be a Super Bowl contender, but Andrew Luck decided to retire. They still could compete with Jacoby Brissett as their starter, but it certainly hurts their chances.
Looking ahead to Sunday night, the Patriots are in for a dogfight against a rival. What four reasons can be given to support the statement that New England will come away victorious over the Steelers?
4. The Absence of Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell
Over the past few years, the Steelers and Patriots have brought a ton of star power to the field. The “Killer B’s” were a nightmare matchup for any team to defend. Now, the Steelers have completely changed the look of their lineup.
Bell left town to join the New York Jets in free agency and Brown was shipped off via trade to the Oakland Raiders. Pittsburgh feels good about James Conner and JuJu Smith-Schuster, but they are going to miss Brown and Bell in this kind of matchup against a championship contender.
3. New England’s Stacked Wide Receivers
For the first time in a long time, the Patriots are stacked at the wide receiver position. Brady has not had this kind of talent to work with in quite some time.
Gordon, Edelman, Thomas, Harry, and the rest of the Patriots’ receivers are going to be tough for the Pittsburgh defense to handle. The Steelers’ defense isn’t bad, but they can’t cover all of the New England weapons at the same time. Gordon and Edelman are destined for a big-time performance and that will carry the Patriots past the Steelers.
2. The Lack of Firepower for the Steelers
As previously mentioned, the Steelers no longer have two of their biggest stars. While they still have Smith-Schuster and Ben Roethlisberger, they are lacking playmaking and firepower.
Donte Moncrief is the No. 2 receiver on the Steelers’ depth chart, which simply isn’t ideal. He isn’t a bad receiver, but he has major consistency issues. The Steelers have enough talent that they could give New England a run for their money, but it’s going to be much more difficult than it has been in years past.
1. Tom Brady Is Still Tom Brady
Finally, there is no one as difficult to beat than Tom Brady. Add in the fact that he is playing at home and things get even more difficult.
Brady is still playing at an elite level, although he has shown some signs of slowing down. His age may catch up to him even more this season, but the Steelers are still going into a tough matchup. New England will always feel confident as long as Brady is under center and he will lead the Patriots to a big Week 1 win.