Written By: Roy Countryman @PreacherBoyRoy
Slay the Dragon you say? Where did that come from...well it comes from straight from one of the captains for the 2019 Steelers, Cam Heyward. He was quoted by saying, “We don’t have to slay the dragon, we have to BE the Dragon!” That is the mindset these Steelers have going into this season. That they will not be intimidated by anyone, even the reigning champions who will be lifting their 6th championship banner on the night. This team, the one everyone is already sleeping on over the new “Powerhouse” in the AFC North (Browns), have quiet confidence surrounding them and is poised to show up and make a statement in this first week of the 100th NFL season.
That is not to say that they don’t have a daunting task ahead of them with one of the best QBs of all time playing opposite them in Tom Brady, as well as having a very dubious 1-5 record against the Patriots in Gillette Stadium with that lone victory coming against a Pats teams missing Brady back in 2008. Still, I say there is a different feeling this time around as this team preps to honor their fallen coach by playing the way he always taught them too: “Never choose good when great is available.”
Matt LaCosse (TE): Questionable (Ankle)
Obi Melifonwu (S): Questionable (Ankle)
Demaryius Thomas (WR): Questionable (Hamstring)
Analysis: Demaryius Thomas was limited for three consecutive practices this week, and with the return of Josh Gordon and the depth that they have I wouldn’t hold my breath you see him debut Sunday night. LaCosse would most likely have the best chance to suit up even though he was limited in Friday’s practice because they have him and Ryan Izzo as the only two TE’s on the roster. Melifonwu also was limited on Friday as well and have a dearth of depth at safety and special teams to allow him to be a scratch come gameday.
Sean Davis (FS): Doubtful (Ankle)
Analysis: Davis is the lone player on the Steelers injury list this week, and he missed three straight practices that set up the Steelers to be without one of the key cogs on the back end of their defense against Tom Terrific. His replacement would be the camp phenom in Kam Kelly who has rode a wave of momentum from his days with the San Diego Fleet all the way here to starting week 1 in a primetime matchup. Keep an eye on Mike Hilton as well as he will be mixed in as the FS in certain packages while Kelly drops down and plays the slot.
Matchups to keep an eye on:
JuJu Smith-Schuster (WR) vs. J.C. Jackson (CB)
Ted Karras (C) vs. Cam Heyward (DT)
Kam Kelly (FS) vs. Tom Brady (QB)
Devin Bush (LB) vs. James White/Sony Michel (RB)
Josh Gordon (WR) vs. Joe Haden (CB)
Outlook: This game has so many matchups that could be featured on this list, but I only touched upon a few. JuJu has the opportunity to silence the bulletin board material Jackson provided by disrespecting him by saying he is not amongst the best WRs in the game. Karras will have his hands full with a highly motivated and powerful Heyward and co. with his rush in the A gaps. Kelly will have to mind his p’s and q’s as he will be playing chess with one of the masters. The Steelers will unveil there shiny new toy in Bush who even though not listed as a starter on the initial depth chart I am sure will play more than 70 % of the snaps. Gordon is looking to kick off his redemption story in style by throwing up some big stats on Haden who is coming back off an injury.
Steelers 23, Patriots 21
Stay Humble, and Be a Blessing!