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Players to Watch: Game One

There are a couple of players who have tough matchups this week to go along with some injury concerns. See who these players are.

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On Sunday the Buffalo Bills play the Pittsburgh Steelers at 1pm at Highmark Stadium. This will be the first time since the 2019 season with a full stadium of Bills fans cheering on their hometown team. The Steelers strongest position groups are their pass rushers and their wide receivers. Earlier this week it was announced that T.J Watt will be ready to go for this game. He is one of the best edge rushers in football right now, and a match up nightmare for most tackles. This will be a huge point of emphasis for the Bills, another point of emphasis will be stopping the passing attack. This is where my two players to watch, Dion Dawkins and Levi Wallace, come in to play.

Is Dawkins 100%?

I chose Dawkins to watch was both due to the elite rushers that the Steelers have and also because of his scare with Covid. Dawkins himself said that COVID took a lot out of him and it was going to be a process to get back into football shape. My main concern is his conditioning, with Covid being a respiratory virus it may impact his stamina and ability to play the whole game. As stated earlier, the Steelers have a great pass rusher in Watt, and they have Melvin Ingram and Cameron Heyward who will put Dawkins to the test.

Ingram and Watt both have an array of moves that they can use to get to the QB.  They win battles with both speed and power. Dawkins will have his hands full with these two but I believe that he will be able to handle it. Earlier this week Brian Daboll said that Dawkins put in the extra work to try and get back to his pre-COVID condition, and that he is as ready as he can be. That’s exactly what we need to see this opening week.

Wallace Draws tough Matchups

This is the first real look at Wallace since he didn’t get any reps in the preseason. Levi Wallace will also have some tough matchups this week. The Steelers wide receivers include Juju Smith Schuster, Chase Claypool, and Dionte Johnson. White will probably draw the assignment of Juju leaving Wallace to cover Claypool. In this game the Bills are going to need Levi to play strong coverage and not lunge at the line of scrimmage when jamming the wide receiver. A jam means knocking the receiver away from the path he wants to take. In zone coverage, Levi needs to not watch the backfield as much. He needs to focus more on the wide receivers on the field and take a look into the backfield on occasion. If Wallace can do that, we can expect a successful game from the secondary.

Both of these players play key roles in the game Sunday, and significantly impact our fate in this game.

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