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|1:00pm||NE -2.5 (-110)||40.5 (-110)||NE -2.5|
Game Analysis & Picks
Week 2 is here, and already, the Foxboro Faithful may be questioning their religion, aka the Church of Bill. In Week 1, their game plan lacked any sign of imagination or ingenuity, something New Englander’s are not accustomed to. Mac Jones was accurate as always (70% completion rate), but receivers couldn’t get separation, the defense couldn’t get key stops, and the Dolphins effectively took the run game away in the second half after staking a 17-0 first half lead.
This week, the Patriots travel to the newly renamed Acrisure Stadium (r.i.p. Heinz Stadium) to face off against the 1-0 Pittsburgh Steelers. Pittsburgh also happens to be the new home to recently dismissed Dolphins head coach and former Patriots’ defensive coordinator Brian Flores.
The Steelers D will be without its star linebacker, T.J. Watt, after he sustained a pec injury in their Week 1 victory over the Bengals. Nevertheless, this Steelers defense will look to pressure Mac Jones early and often and give the Patriots O-line fits after putting on a dominant showing against the Bengals. Of particular interest is that the Steelers were able to slow down Joe Burrow to the tune of 5 turnovers (1 fumble, 4 interceptions), 7 sacks, and 11 QB hits. Brian Flores is a big fan of pressuring the QB via the blitz, so the Pat’s offensive line has their work cut out for them if they hope to avoid a similar fate.
On the other side of the field, Bill Belichick is no stranger to early season struggles, and is not someone who will make the same mistake twice. After a week of Bill laying into them, expect the Pats to come out with a much stronger game plan, execute more effectively, and try to establish the run game early to take some of the pressure off of their second year QB. This is a team that won 10 games last year and should be able to compete with a team that employs Mitch Trubisky as their starting QB.
When you add it all up, and consider Bill Belichick’s 12-4 career record against the Steelers as Patriots’ head coach compared to Mike Tomlin’s 3-8 mark against the Patriots, I’m expecting the Patriots to bounce back from a soft Week 1 showing. I’ll take the Patriots Money Line (-141), while also expecting them to cover the spread at -2.5 (-110) on their way to their first victory of the season.