The New England Patriots can't wait to put their crazy offseason behind them and get back to focusing on football. They'll start defending their title in the NFL opener on Thursday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers - here are three reasons why they'll emerge victorious:
3) Great offensive line
Pittsburgh's defense struggled last year because of their lack of a pass rush, and they won't have much success against New England. The Patriots don't have any All-Pro offensive lineman, but they have a solid group of starters. The tackles, Nate Solder and Sebastian Vollmer, best at run blocking and serviceable in pass protection. Center Bryan Stork played well once he was made a starter and should be even better this year while the guards got a boost in the draft by adding Tre Jackson from Florida State and Shaq Mason from Georgia Tech. They will keep Tom Brady upright and open up holes in the running game with relative ease.
2) Underrated defense
The Steelers offense is expected to be one of the league's best in 2015, but without Le'Veon Bell and Martavis Bryant for the start of the season, they might hit a snag out of the gates - and the Patriots won't do them any favors.
New England lost plenty in the secondary, but the front seven will help hide any shortcomings. Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich will get some help at end with the newly signed Jabaal Sheard. Vince Wolfork is gone, but there is depth at defensive tackle with Alan Branch, Chris Jones, Sealver Siliga, along first-round picks Dominique Easley and Malcom Brown. The Patriots also have three stud linebackers in Jamie Collins, Jared Mayo and Dont'a Hightower.
1) Tom Brady with a chip on his shoulder
Brady is the best quarterback in the league and was already the most competitive. Think he's determined to have his best season yet after the summer he just went through with the NFL and Deflategate? Not to mention the fact that he was supposed to miss the first four games of the season, a suspension that was overturned last week.
Brady is looking foward to taking his frustrations out on the field, which is terible news for the Steelers.Back to the New England Patriots Newsfeed