Editor's Note: FanDuel is running a $1,000,000 fantasy football league in week 1. The Top 46,000 teams win cash with $100,000 paid to first place. Join now!
While the New England Patriots are waiting for Judge Berman to clear the suspension of quarterback Tom Brady, the Pittsburgh Steelers are licking their wounds. The Patriots first opponent of the 2015 season, which will be the season opener and broadcast for the whole world to see, is in trouble.
The Steelers are dealing with the following injuries and suspensions:
Center Maurkice Pouncey is injured with a broken leg.
Running back Le'Veon Bell is suspended for the same marijuana incident that is keeping Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount away.
#2 wide receiver Martavis Bryant is suspended for a substance abuse violation.
3-4 defensive end Stephon Tuitt hurt his ankle.
Linebacker Lawrence Timmons is battling turf toe.
Pittsburgh is banged up on both sides of the ball, and that's not even the worst of it. The players that will be on the field are questionable in their performance.
The interior of the Steelers offensive line, especially with Pouncey sidelined, is lackluster (although similar could be said about the Patriots offensive line). Wide receiver Darius Heyward-Bey is expected to play a large role in their offense. Replacement running back DeAngelo Williams is definitely a lesser weapon than Le'Veon Bell.
The Steelers defense is definitely not the same as they've been in the past, even though Brady has had his share of dominance against former-coordinator Dick LeBeau. With Timmons sidelined, the 37-year-old James Harrison is their best linebacker, and the other linebackers are all fairly inexperienced. Last year's Steelers secondary was considered one of the worst in the league.
This isn't to say that Pittsburgh won't improve; over the course of the season, the Steelers are very likely to get better under the leadership of Mike Tomlin. But week 1 against a Patriots team that wants to rain fire on the NFL?
Buy Julian Edelman. Buy Rob Gronkowski. Buy the Patriots defense.
Editor's Note: FanDuel is running a $1,000,000 fantasy football league in week 1 that starts on 9/13 and ends on 9/14. Ironically, you won't be able to use any Patriots players in this round. Still, the Top 46,000 teams win cash with $100,000 paid to first place. Join now!