Thanks to the left knee injury suffered by Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, the New England Patriots are now expected by many to beat them on Sunday when the two teams play in Week 7 at Heinz Field.
After the Steelers initially opened up as 1-point favorites over the Patriots, the betting line has now moved drastically in favorite of the Patriots and the Westgate Superbook in Las Vegas now has New England listed as 7.5-point favorites on Sunday.
With Roethlisberger expected to be sidelined Sunday at Heinz Field, backup Landry Jones will likely make his third career start. When he temporarily relieved Roethlisberger late in the first half of Sunday’s loss to the Miami Dolphins, Jones lone pass in the game was incomplete and almost intercepted.
Prior to Sunday, Jones’ last meaningful appearance came in last year’s AFC Wild Card win over the Cincinnati Bengals when he once again temporarily took over for an injured Roethlisberger. In that game, Jones completed just 2 of his 5 pass attempts for 11 yards with an interception. He was also sacked once before Roethlisberger returned to the game.
Jones will be backed up on Sunday by Zach Mettenberger, who was acquired by the Steelers off waivers from the San Diego Chargers just prior to the start of the regular season.
Over the course of their last four games the Patriots have only allowed an average of 11.5 points to be scored against them and only five total touchdowns. Since Patriots quarterback Tom Brady returned in Week 5 from his four-game suspension he has completed 57 of his 75 total pass attempts for 782 yards and 6 touchdowns. He hasn’t thrown an interception in addition to only being sacked 4 times.
Brady, however, isn’t ready to accept the fact that Roethlisberger might not play Sunday.
“He’s one of the toughest guys in the league. I would never rule him out for anything,” Brady said Monday morning during his weekly interview on sports radio WEEI’s “Kirk and Callahan Show.”
“He’s done that before and played and thrown for 400 yards. He’s just a stud, just an incredible player,” Brady added. “I’ve played against him since 2004, and nothing surprises me with him. He’s one of the best quarterbacks I’ve ever played against. I would never count him out.”
Roethlisberger reportedly underwent surgery Monday morning to repair the left knee meniscus that he damaged in the first half of Sunday’s loss to the Dolphins. At this point, it would be a minor miracle if he plays Sunday at home against the Patriots so Brady should rest easy.