Week 9 vs. Pittsburgh Steelers:
The Pittsburgh Steelers took a step back last season on defense, and their offense continues to search for their trademark running game. Ben Roethlisberger seemingly has a couple new injures each season, and he is a decidedly different quarterback when not at full strength. At home, the week before the bye, and knowing a win may earn them extra time off during the break, expect Patriots quarterback Tom Brady to continue to be fully motivated against the Steelers in week nine during the nationally televised late afternoon game.
Prediction: Patriots 31 – Pittsburgh 17 Record: 7-2.
Week 11 at Carolina Panthers:
The New England Patriots face off following the bye week on a Monday night against a strong, young quarterback with a rejuvenated running game. The Patriots under head coach Bill Belichick historically have ten wins in thirteen games following immediately after the bye week. While Carolina should bounce back towards respectability again this season, expect the Patriots to hold their own and give the many Patriots fans who relocated from the Boston area to the Carolinas in search of opportunities in financial services and high tech manufacturing during the recession something to cheer about in Patriots Nation South.
Prediction: Patriots 27 – Carolina 17 Record: 8-2.