New England Patriots vs. Pittsburgh Steelers Pick ATS

by | Sep 14, 2022 | nfl

New England Patriots (0-1 SU, 0-1 ATS) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS)

Week 2 NFL

Date/Time: Sunday, September 18, 2022 at 1PM EDT

Where: Acrisure Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

TV: CBS

Point Spread: NE -1/PIT +1 (Bovada)

Over/Under Total: 40

In a classic battle of longtime AFC rivals, the New England Patriots take on the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday. Things didn’t get off to a good start for the Patriots on Sunday, suffering a 20-7 road loss to divisional rival Miami to open their season. They find themselves on the road again in week two, this time against a Steelers team that might not be as bad as advertised. Against conference champion Cincinnati on Sunday, the Steelers overcame a late surge to nip the Bengals at the wire 23-20 deep into overtime. Who will come out on top this week in Pittsburgh?

New England: Withhold Judgment or Sound the Alarms?

Over the years and especially in the wake of the Tom Brady exodus, we’ve come to defer to the New England system, Bill Belichick, and their coaching staff. The thought is that regardless of how bad it looks, the machine will keep chugging forward. During the offseason, though, when doing various team assessments, it was hard not to see how bad the New England roster looked. The offense is led by Mac Jones, one of the least promising-looking QBs from last year’s robust class. He was hurt on Sunday with some X-rays on his back coming up negative, so it looks like he’ll play on Sunday. There is only so much one can do when the lead receiver is Jakobi Meyers, with supporting pieces like Nelson Agholor, Kendrick Bourne, and Hunter Henry. Newly-added DeVante Parker was silent against his old team on Sunday. If they’re not playing from behind, the 1-2 running back punch of Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson could play off. But losing two key pieces from their offensive line looks to have resulted in a dip.

It’s still just one week, and if the Patriots’ week one showing came in week seven, no one would really bat an eyelash. It’s one thing to use week one to bolster a read you had that the Pats might not be able to maintain as well this season. But that still has yet to be established. In fact, when we have seen Belichick and Company hit a wall as they did on Sunday, they typically regroup fairly well. So sure, they might have looked awful, and certain things don’t stack up on paper, but writing them off could be foolish.

Steelers Better than Advertised?

Sunday was a bit surprising, even for those suspecting the Bengals to recede to the rest of the conference pack this season. New Steelers QB Mitchell Trubisky was able to connect some with WR Diontae Johnson and TE Pat Freiermuth but was hardly electric. What he did was manage the game well and not make many mistakes, as he gets his feet wet as the Steelers’ starting quarterback after being off the field for the most part recently. They applied the running game a little strangely, with Chase Claypool getting almost as much work back there as Najee Harris. And with Trubisky a nimble mover, we might see some different things on the ground from Pittsburgh this season. A high ankle sprain, however, looks to have Harris missing some time.

More Picks: Miami at Baltmore Week 2 against the spread pick

Anyone who watched the Steelers on defense last season were likely surprised by the high-octane Bengals’ 20-point output on Sunday. At the end of the game, it looked like the Bengals had finally gained the measure on the Steelers, as Pittsburgh provided stunningly little resistance late as the Bengals tied the game. But they came alive with some key stops in the overtime session to allow Trubisky and the offense to squeak it out with a late FG drive. It’s still a unit that could be expected to play with some wide variance this season.

In any event, I think some of the same courtesies that are extended to the Patriots should be given to the Steelers. Mike Tomlin is a guy who can whip what seems to be an inferior group on paper into something that surpasses expectations. He has been able to find guys on defense. On Sunday, we saw a pick-six from Minkah Fitzpatrick, along with seven sacks, including three from Alex Highsmith. Along with TJ Watt, opposing quarterbacks might find themselves in trouble. Four interceptions of Joe Burrow really rounded out what was a dominant performance from the defense, at least in the playmaking department. A cynic might ask why would a team need overtime with seven sacks, four picks, and a fumble when your own offense had no turnovers. But when you score an upset on the road in week one, you don’t ask too many questions. Against a high-powered offense with an improved offensive line, the Steelers more than held their own, with all phases of the defense acquitting themselves well for the most part. A little stoutness to go with the playmaking would go a long way, but they shouldn’t be overwhelmed by firepower in this matchup.

Take the Home Team

There should be a little trepidation going against a Patriots team that is already facing a little urgency in week two. One could easily suspect that the coaching staff puts a lot of effort into turning this around before it gets ugly. And placing too much stock in week one goes the other way, too, as the Steelers shouldn’t occupy a higher space in your mind based on one week. Still, some of what I noticed in the preseason played out in week one, with the Steelers far from hopeless, with the Pats not looking like they have the horses to make this work. I see enough playmaking on both sides of the ball this week from the Steelers to get them the win and cover at home.

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