One of the many talking points that has accompanied speculation about what Tom Brady’s suspension will mean for the Patriots has been the possibility that the quarterback’s absence for the first month of the season will be a good thing for other teams in the AFC.
That wasn’t Las Vegas’ reaction to last week’s news that Brady has dropped his fight against the suspension and it isn’t the reaction of Steelers running back DeAngelo Williams. While Williams feels “everybody has their problems and I am glad they have theirs,” he doesn’t think there’s any correlation between Patriot problems and his club’s chances of success.
“I don’t know why everybody thinks that affects us,” Williams said, via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “We don’t care. You think Big Ben [Roethlisberger] wants to beat a Brady-less team? That proves nothing to him.”
The good news for Roethlisberger is that he won’t be facing a Brady-less team unless the Patriots quarterback is removed from the lineup between his Week Five return and their Week Seven game in Pittsburgh. Winning that game would likely boost Pittsburgh’s playoff hopes, which Williams is right to suggest are tied more strongly to several other factors than they are to Brady’s early season absence.
While one could see why a team in the AFC East might see its playoff prospects improve with Brady missing a quarter of the season, the Steelers have their own division to worry about and their hopes of winning a Wild Card or home-field edge over the Patriots will be benefitted the most by their own play over the course of the year.