With the 2015 NFL Schedule scheduled to be released to the general public Tuesday April 21st at 8:00 p.m. EST, fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers are wondering if they will be selected to kickoff the 2015 season in Foxborough playing the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots as they begin their title defense.
The Steelers' fan base is split on what to think of this potential matchup. Some believe it would be better to open up with the Patriots, while others want no part of New England right out of the gate. This is where we come in...take a look at the pros and cons of opening the season vs. Tom Brady and the boys.
- The Patriots are typically slow starters to the season, and the Steelers could possibly take advantage of those slow starts by stealing one on the road early.
- Being the first week of the season, the team will be able to put a game plan together which hasn't been seen before. Martavis Bryant could be a huge part of the team's offense in 2015, but the team could have wrinkles in the offense Bill Belichick has never witnessed. Those wrinkles could equate to success for the Steelers.
- Typically when the starters reach the first week of the regular season, they are as close to 100 percent healthy as can be expected while playing in preseason games. There are always exceptions, but playing in Week 1 should have the team as healthy as it gets.
- The Steelers defense is very much in question heading into the new year, what better way to get a gauge for the unit than going against Brady and Rob Gonkowski and company.
- The Patriots running attack will have a different feel to it in 2015, and if the two teams faced off in Week 1 of the season, the Patriots would be without LeGarrette Blount as he would be serving a one-game suspension for violating the league's new substanec abuse policy.
- Le'Veon Bell's 3-game suspension would have him sitting out this prime time matchup. If the game were later in the season, the Steelers would have arguably their best offensive player in the lineup. Oh, the Steelers are also 0-4 without Bell in the lineup too.
- Speaking of the Steelers' defense, as this game would be a good gauge for the unit, it could also be a smack in the face for a young and unproven group. Brady can carve up an experienced group, let alone a group who hasn't had enough time to completely gel yet.
- Tom Brady owns the Steelers, especially at home. This isn't really breaking news by any stretch of the imagination, but a general theory is the Steelers would fair better against the Patriots after gelling together for a few weeks/months compared to right out of the gate.
- Outside of the Baltimore Ravens getting beaten in Denver against the Broncos following their Super Bowl win, the reigning Super Bowl champions are extremely difficult to beat in the season opener the following year.
- A potentially huge AFC conference game which could have significant head-to-head playoff implications being played in Week 1 puts extra emphasis on the game.
There you have it, 5 reasons why the Steelers should want to open up with the Patriots and 5 reasons why if the NFL schedules this game later in the year, it would be a good thing. Where do you stand on the topic? Would you rather play the Patriots in Week 1? Or would you rather wait till later in the season?