Finally, football season is here, and it opens with a bang.
On Thursday, two of the best teams in the NFL will face off to kick off what should be another fantastic year of football, and hopefully a good year for Pittsburgh. The Pittsburgh Steelers will visit Foxborough to play the defending champion New England Patriots
The game stars two of the most experienced and best quarterbacks in the league, Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger, both future Hall of Famers. While the offseason almost stole the season opener away from Brady throughout the ‘Deflategate’ scandal, the judge made his ruling, and Brady will play against Pittsburgh to open the year.
The Patriots are favored to win the game, with a furious Brady, and the opportunity to take advantage of a young, inexperienced defense. It also doesn’t help to have both star running back Le’Veon Bell and deep threat wide receiver Martavis Bryant both suspended for the game, as well as the injured center Maurkice Pouncey.
What do the Steelers need to do to take down the champs?
1. Stop Gronkowski
Rob Gronkowski has become one of the most unstoppable forces in the entire NFL. He has transformed into possibly the best tight end in the league, and has been a major part of the Patriots’ offense for a couple of years now. The Steelers’ have made it clear that they have made it their mission to take down the beast known as ‘Gronk’.
With Pro Bowl linebacker Lawrence Timmons and speed demon Ryan Shazier likely covering the big tight end, I wouldn’t call it impossible that they could slow him down. The Steelers have been saying that they’ve started to figure out Gronkowski a bit, saying he doesn’t play as well when jammed, therefore they plan to jam him. Gronk responded by saying that he’ll just work harder. Overall, the battle between Gronk and the Steelers defense will definitely be a good one to watch.
2. Taking advantage of weak secondary
Steelers fans, we aren’t alone. While you might not hear the word ‘weak’ thrown around too much when talking about the Patriots, it’s impossible to deny the impact of losing cornerback Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner. It’s hard not to look at the potential matchup of wide receiver Antonio Brown versus the unproven super bowl hero in Malcolm Butler. Some may argue that Butler is on the rise, but other than his late game heroics in last year’s super bowl, the undrafted sophomore might very well struggle against covering Brown.
On top of that, the rest of secondary is led by aging, and mediocre Tarrell Brown, and the stumbling Brandon Fletcher and Logan Ryan. Overall, even without Martavis Bryant flying down the field as our top aerial threat, the cards our in our favor when it comes to our passing attack.
3. Knocking down Brady
I’m sure a lot of fans nationwide, Steeler fans or not, would love to see Brady take a few hits. Following the whole DeflateGate scandal, people aren’t too pleased with the four-time champion quarterback. It’s also said that a fire burns in the eyes of Brady who plans to take his rage and enact vengeance on the NFL by crushing the league this season, but it’s up to the Steelers to extinguish the flame before it starts.
If the Steelers defensive line can attack Brady early on, and give him a bit of a beating, it could seriously kill the momentum of the Patriots, and energize the Steelers enough to pull away with the game.
This game could very well become a shootout between two gunslingers that have been preparing for this matchup for months. It’ll be up to the respective defenses to stop the high power offenses, and whichever team can do that is sure to come out on top.
More from Still Curtain
- 4 reasons Steelers would have been embarrassed in the NFL playoffs
- The easiest cut the Pittsburgh Steelers will make in 2023
- Steelers news: Rashard Mendenhall calls out Big Ben, Brian Flores interviews for HC job, and more
- Steelers play it safe in recent 2023 NFL mock draft
- Kenny Pickett gets his guy in latest Steelers mock draft with trades