As is tradition, the first game of the new season features the defending Super Bowl champions hosting a team believed to be among the biggest contenders to dethrone the champs. New England is coming off their fourth title under Bill Belichick and with Tom Brady at quarterback and their sixth Super Bowl appearance overall with the coach/QB duo leading the way.
Speaking of, Brady will be playing in this game after previously being suspended for the first four games of 2015 for his role in Deflategate. However, that ruling was overturned last week after a federal judge determined there wasn't enough evidence to suspend Brady. That means he'll likely play in every game this season so long as he remains healthy.
However, there still will be a lot of starpower missing in this game. The biggest player missing this game is Steelers All-Pro running back Le'Veon Bell, who will be suspended for the first two games of this season for a 2014 DUI and marijuana possession arrest,
Ironically, that arrest happened with current Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount, who was a member of the Steelers at the time of his arrest. Now back with the Patriots, he too will be missing this game while serving a one-game suspension. Adding to the suspended list, Steelers receiver Martavis Bryant will also miss the game while serving a four-game suspension for substance abuse.
Both team's starting centers will miss this game as well after Patriots starter Bryan Stork was placed on I.R. with the designation to return today due to a concussion. Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey will miss this game as he's set to open the year on I.R. with the designation to return as well after suffering a major ankle injury in the preseason.
While it's clear neither team will be at full strength in this game, it's still a matchup of two division winners from 2014, looking to once again get to the playoffs with hopes of making a deep postseason run.
How to watch Steelers at Patriots
Date: Thursday, September 10th, 2015
Location: Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, Massachusetts
Kickoff: 8:30 PM EST
SB Nation Coverage: Pats Pulpit and Behind the Steel Curtain
Announcers: Al Michaels will cover the play-by-play. Cris Collinsworth will be the color analyst. Michele Tafoya is the sideline reporter.
Odds: Patriots -7 with an over/under of 51.5, courtesy of Odds Shark.