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Game Preview: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Buffalo Bills



With a one-score win fresh in their back pocket, the Buffalo Bills return home to face a struggling Pittsburgh Steelers team and a rookie quarterback in his first career start. Let’s take a look at the recent history between these teams and size up this AFC matchup.

The Last Five

Steelers 23 Bills 16 (2021)
Bills 26 Steelers 15 (2020)
Bills 17 Steelers 10 (2019)
Steelers 27 Bills 20 (2016)
Steelers 23 Bills 10 (2013)

Buffalo and Pittsburgh will face off for fourth straight year, with the teams playing in some memorable games as of late. In the 2021 game, the Steelers paid spoiler in the first regular season game with a full stadium since the COVID pandemic. In 2020, the teams met on Sunday Night Football and the Bills toppled the (then) 11-1 Steelers on national television. The two teams also played on Sunday Night the year before. With a win that night, the Bills clinched their second playoff berth in three seasons with McDermott.

What To Watch For: Buffalo Bills

Running Game – The running game through four games can be summed up in two words: Josh Allen. Allen has rushed for 183 of the team’s 462 rushing yards. I found this stat amazing: Devin Singletary has 34 rushing attempts this year while Allen has 30. McDermott, once again, sounded bothered this week by the team’s reliance on Allen on the ground. It is a point of emphasis to fix as the Bills move through the season. New offensive line coach Aaron Kromer received tons of praise in the offseason and through training camp, but has yet to face much criticism now that the games matter. He might be another bad performance away from hearing it, though.

Jacksonville 2.0 – I haven’t been this confident going into a Buffalo Bills game since the Jacksonville game last year. A 9-6 loss reminded us all that “any given Sunday” applies to even the mighty Bills and Josh Allen. Despite the loss last year, I have not softened on my stance that the Bills will undoubtedly win this game. Some people on social media are more cautious with their predictions.

If the Bills were to overlook an opponent, though every indication is that this locker room is extremely focused, this week would be the “perfect” time for it. Next Sunday afternoon, the Bills and Chiefs are going to play what could be the regular season game of the year and, given their history, you know the Bills are aware who they are playing next week. Like I said, if the Bills are to overlook an opponent and a team, this is a perfect example of how it could happen. I wouldn’t lose sleep over it, though.

Injuries Still an Issue – It seems like the Bills are getting healthier. However, looking at their injury report, they are far from it. Although they are likely to get Ed Oliver and Jordan Phillips back this week, they will be without reigning Defensive Player of the Week Jordan Poyer, Dawson Knox, and Jake Kumerow. Tremaine Edmunds is questionable with a hamstring injury, but is unlikely to play. After being one of the healthiest teams in the league last year, the injury bug is hitting this team hard. Injuries and insane temperatures accounted for their one loss up to this point. This week, injuries alone could be the reason why the game doesn’t turn into a blowout.

What To Watch For: Pittsburgh Steelers

Pickett Era Begins – An otherwise dull season for Steelers fans became much more exciting this week as rookie Kenny Pickett was named the starting quarterback over former Bills backup Mitchell Trubisky. Pickett draws one of the toughest assignments in the league for his first start: the league’s best defense, coached by two men who have given opposing rookie quarterbacks fits. McDermott is 8-3 against rookie quarterbacks as a head coach. The Bills average 1.5 interceptions and 2.7 sacks per game against rookie quarterbacks. If Pickett struggles, he has the perfect excuse. If he shines, Pittsburgh will be certain they have found their quarterback for the future.

No Watt a Major Blow – TJ Watt went down in the Steelers’ Week 1 win against the Bengals, but not after making his presence know with one sack and one INT in the win. Watt missing time has hindered Pittsburgh’s success on defense in their three straight losses without him. Watt played a huge role in the Steelers’ upset win over the Bills last September and the Bills should consider themselves lucky to not have to line up from him this week, especially with the recent struggles along their offensive line. Pittsburgh is giving up one touchdown more per game without Watt. This is significant as two of the team’s three losses came by one score. The Steelers have never won a game without TJ Watt (0-7) heading into Orchard Park on Sunday.


Bills 38 Steelers 17 The Steelers never really get blown out, but I think a rookie quarterback against this defense has the making for a traditional Bills dominating win. The 14-point spread is the biggest the Steelers have ever faced. The Bills’ defensive injuries are a concern. However, they have not been shredded because of that and I can’t see Pickett doing it in his first start. The Buffalo Bills will take care of business, avoid a letdown, and march into Kansas City at 4-1.

Featured Image: AP Photo/Adrian Kraus