The Broncos struggled against a broken Steelers team that was without their top two running backs and top wide receiver, and their quarterback played through a shoulder injury. The Patriots are far healthier and, even when the Steelers are healthy, are a superior unit.
The last time these two teams played, the Patriots were without wide receivers Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola, while tight end Rob Gronkowski left with an injury. The Patriots were just two games removed from losing their star running back Dion Lewis and were still in transition.
Hopefully Jamesdevlin can add his thoughts in the comments, but I personally interpret this line as trying to entice Patriots supporters to bet, with the game ultimately being a 3-point New England victory. 67% of the money has been placed on the Patriots, per Oddsshark.
New England isn't a stranger to being a road favorite against a team with a #1 defense and a sub-game manager quarterback, which also ended the Patriots chances of an undefeated season, in the conference championship. The Patriots were 3-point favorites over the 2004 Pittsburgh Steelers, with rookie Ben Roethlisberger at the helm. New England won 41-27 en route to a second straight Super Bowl title. Sounds familiar.
The over/under is 45, which projects a 24.25-20.75 Patriots victory.
Can you predict the score?