What deflategate? Patriots will remind everyone what really makes them famous

Tom Brady deflategateThe New England Patriots face the Pittsburgh Steelers tonight in the season opener, and crucially, Tom Brady will be taking the field. It will be fascinating to see how the deflate-gate saga will have taken it’s toll on the Patriots preparation for their week 1 match-up, and the Steelers major hope is that the Superbowl winning offence led by their main-man Brady will show patches of rust.

However, if there is one quarterback in the entire NFL who has the ability to deal with a scandal and get on with it, it’s Tom Brady. Whilst the off-season media coverage will have been a notch above Brady’s normal celebrity status, it’s tough to imagine him showing any signs of the kind of indecision that might cost the Patriots a season opening win. Brady will be on the same home-ground as he has played throughout his NFL career, reading playbooks edited by the only NFL coach he has ever played under, Bill Belichick, and looking around to find the same receivers that put his newest super-bowl ring on his finger. If anything, the Patriots may be better prepared for disaster, since backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo will be the most well polished backup in the entire NFL.

The Steelers are unlikely to offer much resistance, either. Make no mistake, they are not a poor team, and with Big Ben Roethlisberger and star receiver Antonio Brown powering a productive offense they have the ability to hurt the Patriots. However, they will be missing the 1,361 regular season yards provided by running back Le’Veon Bell last season due to suspension. Even though many of the running success of the Steelers last season could be attributed to a much-improved offensive line, without Bell they are unlikely to be as productive on the ground as they were last season. They are also missing promising number 2 receiver Martavis Bryant through suspension and potentially key linebacker Lawrence Timmons through injury. This team will be a threat as the season progresses, but add to the suspensions a worrying propensity to concede passing yards in pre-season, and the Steelers are unlikely to be at their best for week one.

After Thursday, deflate-gate will be a distant memory. Brady will produce the kind of polished performance that has become his trademark and star receivers Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski will pick up some serious yards against a helpless Pittsburgh defense that is very much in a period of transition. The Patriots biggest worry will be that the ball boy pumps the footballs up to the regulation pressure…

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Scott AvatarSCOTT SIMPKIN is a young sports journalist from the UK with a growing interest in sports in the US, particularly American football and Baseball. He has previously contributed to publications including Palatinate Online and FourFourTwo

 

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Cowboys to Benefit From Home Advantage Against Packers

Cowboys_Stadium_field

Packers @ Cowboys

This is a game of so many uncertainties that even most bookmakers haven’t made their mind up.

The Packers offense is banged up but three key parts are all maybes, if Aaron Rogers were to play and one of Lacy and Cobb I fancy GB every time, but with Flynn most likely under centre and Lacy struggling I give it to Dallas. The Cowboys are in disarray but are desperate, and at home, like a cornered rat.

The thing people seem to be ignoring is that the Packers simply aren’t that good. There may not be another team in football, hell any sport in the world, that is so reliant on one player. Since Rogers got hurt the Packers have lost four and drawn one of their games, with a one point win over the 3-10 Falcons on Sunday finally breaking the ignominious record and landing them at 6-6-1 going in to this week.

The Cowboys simply have to win, in fact they have to win their next three games to make the playoffs. The problem now, following a wild weekend in the NFC wildacrd race, means the four spots are wide open.

Dallas are expected to be favoured by a touchdown, and in what I see as a shootout I wouldn’t back against that.

Betting Instinct Tip – Dallas -6.5 is 1.91 with AllYouBet.ag

Bengals @ Steelers

The 9-4 Bengals put together an impressive performance against the maddeningly inconsistent Colts last week, with the dual threat running attack of Gio Bernard and BenJarvus Green-Ellis (a.k.a the Law Firm) dicing up a butter soft Colts. Andy Dalton also looked brilliant. No I mean it. Dalton threw with touch and was accurate throwing down field. Yeah we all think we could do a job throwing to AJ Green on that Colts secondary, but seriously Dalton was impressive, ending with a passer rating of 120.5 and three TD tosses and no interceptions.

Now this is where the gambler in me sees Dalton inevitably having a stinker against the Steelers, and in the past that is the way I would pick it, but this Steelers team don’t fill me with confidence and Cincinnati look like they are hitting stride at the right time. They have lots of weapons and I see them rolling past Pittsburgh. The Steelers are the 25th worst team against the run this season in terms of yardage, if the Bengals dynamic duo can get at it again they should be able to dominate the ball and hit their big time receivers enough to score on the Steelers.

Pittsburgh are 1-3 point underdogs at the time of writing and although that looks tasty against the maddening Bengals, Pittsburgh are all but out of the playoff race. Mike Tomlin’s teams never let off the gas but all a win would do would deflate the Bengals (yay) and help the rival Ravens (boo), a pretty lose lose week for the Steelers really and I would take the Bengals by a score.

Cincinnati Bengals v Pittsburgh Steelers Betting Odds

Cincinnati to win – 1.76

Pittsburgh to win – 2.00

(Odds provided by GR88.com are current as of today but subject to change.)

scott avatar SCOTT CAREY is a journalist with a passion for Chelsea football club and the NFL. Follow him on Twitter at @SCarey102

It’s turkey treats all round for NFL fans this Thanksgiving

Family get-togethers, turkey, mashed potato, pumpkin pie – and of course top-quality American football! For NFL fans across the United States, Thanksgiving is the best holiday of the year with excitement on the field guaranteed from midday through to prime-time in the evening. America’s number one sport serves up a three-course menu with plenty of intriguing story lines this Thursday.

For starters it’s NFC North rivals Green Bay and Detroit getting it on from 12:30 Eastern. The Packers (5-5), inked in by many as a hot preseason Super Bowl tip, have struggled in recent weeks without injured quarterback Aaron Rodgers, completely opening up the division’s title race. A home win for the Lions (6-5) would take them a big step towards sealing what would their first division triumph since 1993!

This year’s main course sees Dallas host Oakland in another game that could prove important in deciding the destination of a division title. The Cowboys moved into pole position in the NFC East after beating the resurgent Giants on the road last weekend and start a strong favourite to underline their ambitions against a 4-7 Raiders team that no longer harbors hopes of being around in the playoffs.

One team that blew its chances of a division title by losing its first four games is Pittsburgh, but a recent upturn in form has lifted the gloom from the record Super Bowl champion and suddenly put a playoff Wild Card within sight. Thanksgiving’s dessert serves up one of the fiercest rivalries in the NFL when Ben Roethlisberger and Co. pay a visit to Baltimore. Both the Steelers and the Ravens have identical 5-6 records and both need to win to bolster their playoff hopes – how about that to wash down a fine football feast?

Intertops Sportsbook adds to the holiday fun with special Stake Back offers on all three Thanksgiving games, allowing you to claim up to a total of $300 in Free Bets.

Packers 3.2                  Lions 1.38

Raiders 4.65                Cowboys 1.21

Steelers 2.3                  Ravens 1.67

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chrisives-50CHRIS I. (tipsterchris) is a European sports blogger who’s hooked on American sports, especially NFL football and NBA basketball.