Week 2 Preview: Pittsburgh Steelers vs New England Patriots

Perhaps the two most successful NFL franchises of the millennium will renew their rivalry in Week 2 when the New England Patriots visit the Pittsburgh Steelers. Both teams are seeking to extend their streaks of success into new generations at quarterback: the Patriots continue their transition from the GOAT Tom Brady to second-year quarterback Mac Jones, and former Chicago Bear Mitchell Trubisky will do his best to take up the mantle of recently retired Steelers legend Ben Roethlisberger. The Patriots are 2.5-point favorites to travel to Pittsburgh and take the win.

The Patriots dominated the Steelers under quarterback Tom Brady, winning nine of their 12 matchups in regular season play and all three of their postseason contests. That was due in large part to Brady himself, who sported a ridiculous 111.1 passer rating and 312 passing yards per game against the Steelers in their regular season matchups. The Patriots will now face Pittsburgh for only the second time under head coach Bill Belichick without Brady; the first time was in 2008 when the Steelers cruised to an easy 33-10 victory over the Matt Cassel-led squad. Coming off a thorough 20-7 drubbing at the hands of their division rival Miami Dolphins, the Patriots will need their young quarterback Mac Jones to look a lot more like Brady than Cassel if they want to avoid falling behind in the AFC.
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Meanwhile, the Steelers are looking to reestablish the defensive identity that made them a consistent contender all throughout the aughts. They got off to an excellent start in Week 1, pestering quarterback Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals for an outrageous seven sacks and four interceptions, but if they want to do it again, they'll need to do so without reigning Defensive Player of the Year T.J. Watt. Watt tore his pec late in the 23-20 overtime win, and the Steelers are crossing their fingers they can survive without him for the next six weeks. They'll need a lot more from Trubisky and the rest of their offense if they're going to remain competitive; the Steelers accounted for a meagre 13 first downs and 267 yards of total offense in five complete periods of play in Week 1.

The Pittsburgh Steelers host the New England Patriots this Sunday in Week 2.