NFL Game Previews: Breaking Down Week 1
NFL Game Previews: Breaking Down Week 1

This article is part of our NFL Game Previews series.

Pittsburgh (+7) at New England - Thursday, 8:30 pm EDT

Comments: Never let it be said that the Patriots don't provide reporters with plenty of copy and click bait. Deflategate and Return of the Revenge of Spygate dominated the headlines this offseason, providing Tom Brady and coach Bill Belichick with plenty of incentive to not just win but destroy their opponents mercilessly. I would not want to be the Steelers this week ... There's a curious symmetry to the players missing for this game. Pittsburgh has Le'Veon Bell and Martavis Bryant suspended, while New England has LeGarrette Blount suspended and Brandon LaFell on the PUP list (foot). Obviously, Pittsburgh loses that exchange. Also, both teams look like they'll be without their starting centers. Maurkice Pouncey is on IR for the Steelers after having surgery to repair a broken fibula, while Bryan Stork is suffering from a concussion. Sloppy offensive line play due to poor communication and continuity could end up being the key factor in this one. ... Speaking of continuity, the legendary Dick Lebeau is now in Tennessee after being Pittsburgh's defensive coordinator for 11 seasons. Keith Butler, the team's long-time linebacker coach, inherited the role and didn't make any huge changes, but the unit wasn't particularly impressive in the preseason, and it remains to be seen just how much Butler absorbed sitting at the feet of the master all those years. ... If you're looking for some good news, Steelers fans, it might be this: in seven career

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Erik Siegrist
Erik Siegrist is an FSWA award-winning columnist who covers all four major North American sports (that means the NHL, not NASCAR) and whose beat extends back to the days when the Nationals were the Expos and the Thunder were the Sonics. He was the inaugural champion of Rotowire's Staff Keeper baseball league. His work has also appeared at Baseball Prospectus.
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