Sporting Alert – The New England Patriots are set to start the defense of their Super Bowl title with a win against the Pittsburgh Steelers, according to the predictors of Week 1.
Watch Live Streaming of the game on NFL.com At 8:30 PM – Also on NBC
The Patriots are being backed with a 61.7-percent chance of making a winning start to the season, with Tom Brady being back to out-play his counterpart Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback.
Sky Bets is backing the Patriots at 1/3 to get off with a winner, while the Steelers are at 5/2 to get the job done on the road.
Brady Eligible To Start
After Judge Richard Berman nullified his four-game suspension over the ongoing saga surrounding the deflated footballs from last season, quarterback Tom Brady is now available for the Patriots.
But will he start?
Chances are the veteran quarterback, in his 16th season, will be trusted to make his 14th straight season opener, despite a troublesome preseason which hampered his preparations for the regular term.
“Everything that’s happened over the past seven months, obviously I have a lot of personal feelings, but I really don’t care to share many of those,” Brady said earlier this week.
“I really care to think about what I need to do going forward. We’ve got a lot of guys in this locker room who worked really hard to get to this point, and so have I, and I’m excited to be able to go out there and do it.”
With things still lingering in his head, expect the 38-year-old who was limited during the preseason fixtures, to make another slow start to the regular term, as he works his way back to game sharpness.
Meanwhile, starting at the other end in the Week 1 fixture for the Steelers will be Ben Roethlisberger, who will make his 159th career start.
When Roethlisberger takes the field on Thursday night, he will surpass Terry Bradshaw for the most starts by a Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback in club history.
According to ESPN stats gurus, the 2015 NFL season opener will bring two clubs with a combined 10 Super Bowl crowns together at Gillette Stadium.
The Brady v Roethlisberger matchup will also bring together two starting quarterbacks with multiple Super Bowls in Week 1 for the first time in NFL history.
It will be interesting to see how Brady connects with targeted weapons tight end Rob Gronkowski and wide receiver Julian Edelman for the Patriots.
Injury Team News
Meanwhile heading into Thursday’s game, the Patriots will be without running back LeGarrette Blount, who is suspended for the game for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy. Fellow RB Travaris Cadet is questionable with a hamstring injury, Tavon Wilson has a quad problem and is also questionable, while starting center Bryan Stork is out with a concussion.
Pittsburgh Steelers are without quarterback Landry Jones, who is out with a concussion, wide receiver Martavis Bryant will start his four-game suspension for violating the “NFL policy and program for substances of abuse.” Another notable absentee will be All-Pro center Maurkice Pouncey, who will be on the sidelines until at least November with an ankle injury.