Five bold predictions for this week


Editor's note: Adam's bold predictions appear each week on ESPNBoston.com. You can listen to Adam Jones and Drew Brooks on ESPN Boston Radio every weekday live from noon to 2 p.m. and again from 2 to 4. (Listen HERE)

1. Theo won't be able to resist taking a few parting shots

We all agree that it was a classy move for Theo Epstein to take out an ad in the Boston Globe offering his "infinite thanks" to Red Sox fans. While member after member of the organization has shot themselves in the foot over the past couple of weeks, Epstein has done an excellent job staying above the fray. At least until his introductory press conference Tuesday in Chicago. That's where I expect Theo to take a few veiled shots at ownership. His relationship with Lucchino has been too adversarial not to. Ultimately, he'll be asked the same question enough different ways where he'll finally take the bait. Epstein has refrained from any mud-slinging to this point. My guess is he decides to get a little dirty on Tuesday.

2. Big day for the tight ends

The guess here is that no Patriots player is looking forward to the end of the bye week less than Rob Gronkowski. That said, Gronkowski must be salivating over this week's matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers. All Gronkowski did in last year's meeting was catch all five passes thrown his way for 72 yards and three touchdowns. Aaron Hernandez had a quiet day (zero catches). Expect that to change this go-round.

3. Wallace goes off

Bill Belichick spent significant time on Monday praising Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace. The way things went in last year's meeting with New England, it's easy to see why. Wallace erupted for 136 yards on eight catches, two of which went for scores. So far this season, he's already piled up 730 yards and five touchdowns, while averaging over 20 yards per catch for the second straight season. He's neck and neck with DeSean Jackson for the title of best big play receiver in the NFL. He'll prove why on Sunday.

4. Patriots run enough to keep Pittsburgh honest

The Steelers are notoriously strong against the run. Opponents are averaging 107 rushing yards per game against Pittsburgh, good for 11th in the NFL. However, the Patriots ran the ball effectively in last year's matchup, with BenJarvus Green-Ellis leading the charge (18 carries, 87 yards). Expect similar numbers from Green-Ellis this weekend.

5. Patriots 34, Steelers 24

Care to guess when the last time the Patriots lost to the Steelers with Tom Brady as their quarterback was? That would be October 2004 (a loss the Patriots would later atone for with a 41-27 victory in the AFC Championship game). The point? The Patriots match up well against Pittsburgh. Couple that with the fact that the Steelers have zero impressive wins so far this season -- their opponents are a combined 7-24 -- and this has all the makings of a Patriots win.