This article is part of our Game Spotlight series.
Pittsburgh (7-5-1) vs. New England (9-4), 4:25
Open: 52 O/U, NE -2.5
Live: 54 O/U, NE -2.5
Because Nothing Can Be Simple we have here a matchup that would at a glance be an obvious powderkeg of fantasy potential, but Ben Roethlisberger's nagging rib ailment threatens to complicate the script to some extent. To be clear, Roethlisberger is absolutely going to play and there are no indications that there is any particular concern over his ability to play. Plus, the guy has an obnoxiously long history of playing hurt, and playing very well in many of those cases. He's also at home, which is a huge reassurance. With the Steelers making a desperate push for playoff viability, the urgency is also a plus. But Roethlisberger looked goofy on a number of throws even back during the Denver game in Week 12, and last week he missed 19 snaps with Josh Dobbs playing in his place.
Because of the venue and the stakes of this matchup, I think we have to err on the side of optimism with Roethlisberger and thus everyone who would otherwise be in play for the slate. I know it's a corny hack thing to lean on reductive narratives, but Roethlisberger is nothing if not an ego-driven competitor, and the same is of course true of the opposing quarterback also. Consciously or not, these guys seem to find the ability to dig deeper in settings like this.
If Roethlisberger is even vaguely himself, then Antonio