The Patriots face off against the Steelers in a critical week two matchup, and the Gillette Gazette is crowdsourcing predictions from the entire Stadium Rant community!
It’s going to be a competitive game for sure in Pittsburgh, and we wanted to get all of the eyes we could get on the game, and who better than a community of knowledgeable sports fans from all over the NFL to give us just that? Here, I show a collection of predictions for Sunday’s Patriots-Steelers battle from my Stadium Rant comrades, and then let you know what I think.
Predictions From The Gillette Gazette
Patrick Keefe – Contributing writer at the Gillette Gazette: 23-20 Patriots
“I see both offenses struggling, and at least one score that is not offensive. Ultimately the Patriots pull it out because both the offense and playcalling get better from week one to week two”
Varun Maddali – Contributing writer at the Gillette Gazette: 24-17 Patriots
“The Patriots offense will be more on point this Sunday after their sloppy game against Miami and TJ Watt being out is a huge loss for the Steelers and their pass rush”
Patriot Pitts – Contributing writer, Gillette Gazette Podcast Co-Host and Champion of the Patriot Peeps: 28-13 Patriots
“The Patriots are going to come out angry, and while their offense needs work, some of the struggles against Miami were week one growing pains. Expect the defense to build on week one and the offense to learn from it”
Tyler Lamb – Contributing writer at the Gillette Gazette and Director of Personnel for Stadium Rant: 24-20 Patriots
“Patriots offense looks functional this time around and the defense lets up the same sort of game as last year. We can can hopefully stay clean and win the game rather than hand it away.”
Predictions From The Rest Of Stadium Rant Nation
Zachary Simmons – Managing editor for Cheesehead Checkdown: 80-3 Steelers
Lets hope that one doesn’t come true for the sake of Patriots Nation, shall we?
Casey Scida – Contributing writer for Bills Beat: 27-21 Patriots
“The Patriots ground game will take advantage of the absence of TJ Watt”
Beau Gleason – Contributing writer for Bengals Breakdown: 17-13 Steelers
“Offense is gonna be tough to watch in this game for both sides, but the Steelers have legit playmakers on defense that can actually make up some sort of difference”
Louie Stewart – Contributing writer for Texans Insider: 24-9 Steelers
“Steelers defense again plays lights out, even without TJ Watt against an apathetic Pats passing game and a frantic Mac Jones. Steelers offense only supplies field goal work”
Andrew Jordan – Managing editor for Bolts Break: 31-17 Steelers
“I’m thinking that the Pittsburgh defense puts 6 on the board and the Pats continue to struggle to generate a consistent offense”
Making Sense Of The Predictions And My Own Thoughts
The predicted results vary, but all of these analyses have one common element. There’s little trust in either offense, and plenty of trust in both defenses. While they didn’t generate turnovers, the Patriots defense only allowed 13 points against Miami and the front did well in terms of getting to the quarterback. The Steelers generated a lot of turnovers, forcing Burrow to have four interceptions, and were effective both up front and in the secondary. Neither offense could quite find their way, and the offensive lines struggled in their respective games.
Skill positions are important, but the battles in the trenches are even more important because they can dictate how effective the skill positions can be. Based on the success of both front sevens and the ineffectiveness of both offensive lines last week, it seems like the defense will will both battles. The edge the Steelers have definitely gets a fair bit smaller, though, without last year’s sacks leader TJ Watt, and the Patriots will certainly have to take advantage.
The strategic element of this will be important too. Bill Belichick has the head coaching advantage in every game he plays, as arguably the best coach of all time. However, he goes up against a strong foe in Mike Tomlin. As far as coordinators are concerned, the Steelers defense is led by a guy in Brian Flores who has an acute defensive mind and has had the Patriots’ number over the years, going up against the questionable dual playcalling of Joe Judge and Matt Patricia.
On the other end, Steelers OC Matt Canada goes up against a doubted tandem in Steve Belichick and Jerod Mayo who seem to actually complement each other quite well. The x-factor will be turnovers, and the Patriots will have to take better care of the ball
It’s hard to say anything other than suggesting that the trenches will nullify each other, although we will find out on gameday. From there, we have to go with the skill positions. The Steelers have a higher ceiling at running back with Najee Harris, but he isn’t at 100% and the Patriots have more depth with Harris and Stevenson. The decided edge in this game, though, is at quarterback. While Mitch Trubisky has more experience, Mac has the clear edge in terms of his accuracy, decision making, and ability to distribute the ball among his variety of weapons. Furthermore, his quick release is a useful skill against such a dangerous defensive front.
This is what gives the Patriots the slight edge in this game, and I see them winning a close 24-13 game that is within single digits until the last five minutes or so of the fourth quarter. It will be a good one on Sunday!
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