Thursday Night Football Picks: Steelers, Patriots

The wait is finally over and tonight we look to start the season off right with our ATS prediction from Foxboro!

Pittsburgh and New England are on-deck for 8:30 pm eastern as the 2015 NFL season kicks into gear and with any luck, the pregame ceremonies to celebrate the Pats’ fluky Super Bowl win won’t be drawn out too long. But I guess Bostonians should be given their chance to celebrate. After all, for the past three months they seriously thought that Jimmy Garappolo would be the one calling signals in Week 1. Thankfully Tom Brady’s judge was a Pats fan at heart.

Okay, enough of that Deflategate garbage. Here’s why I think the Steelers cover tonight’s spread.

STEELERS at PATRIOTS (-7 and O/U 50.5)

Bill Belichick is a great coach and regardless of the no-name running back committee, injury to starting center Bryan Stork (concussions) or lack of big play wideout Brandon LaFell, New England’s going to find a way to move the football. However, I don’t believe for a second it’s going to be quite as easy as some people seem to think. Pittsburgh has a new D-Co (Keith Butler) and suspect secondary but they do have some talent in the front seven. The Steelers have made strides in four consecutive seasons with takeaways and if they can create a turnover or two, that gets the ball back in the hands of another QB who knows a thing or two about winning big games.

Mike Tomlin has a style for road games. He slow plays them. Last year, the Steelers scoring averages in the first and second halves were as follows. At home, they went 18.9 points per game (PPG) in the first (2nd) and 8.9 PPG in the second (26th). On the road, Pittsburgh scored 11.6 PPG in the first and 13.5 points in the second-half (5th overall). They have the talent at every position on offense to stay in this ballgame into the fourth quarter and Pittsburgh didn’t make this trip just to stay close. I’m expecting this to be a one-score game late and while I feel the odds of Pittsburgh winning straight-up are 50-50 at best, I think the chance they keep this a one-score game are better than 60-percent.

Pick Sixty’s Prediction: NEW ENGLAND 27, Pittsburgh 24

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