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Buffalo Bills vs. Pittsburgh Steelers Week 1 game preview


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Image Credit: © Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

 

The first test of the year for the Buffalo Bills comes against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Both teams enter the season with high expectations. However, the two franchises are headed in very different directions. 

 

The Steelers are holding onto dear life with their aging quarterback Ben Roethlisberger hoping to coax another postseason run out of his 39-year old arm. Whereas in Buffalo, at 25 years old, Josh Allen has yet to reach his peak and is still after his first Super Bowl ring. Big Ben had two by the time he was 27. Allen can still get there. A three-time MVP sees Allen as a winner. 

Buffalo Bills Week 1 game details, where to watch

  • Sunday, September 12, 2021
  • Start time: 1:00 PM ET
  • TV channel - CBS
  • Location - Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, NY

What happened last time the Bills played the Steelers?

MozJPEG USATSI_15312865.jpg

© Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Last season in Week 14 on Sunday Night Football, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster thought it was a good idea to dance at midfield on the Bills logo. Some players noticed and didn’t take too kindly to Smith-Schuster’s actions. But the Bills got the last laugh by winning the game.

 

  • JuJu Smith-Schuster stats: 6 catches for 55 yards and a TD
  • Pittsburgh Steelers points: 15
  • Buffalo Bills points: 26

 

With the win, the Bills rolled to 10-3, and the Steelers moved to 11-2, losing their first away game of the year. Pittsburgh has since changed offensive coordinators but has largely remained the same team as a year ago.

Matchups to watch

  • Josh Allen vs. Steelers secondary

 

Led by Joe Haden and Minkah Fitzpatrick, the Steelers have a decent but not great secondary. Trading for Ahkello Witherspoon should make them a bit better. Since acquiring Fitzpatrick in 2019, no defense has allowed fewer completions on passes 20+ yards downfield. The Steelers also have Terrell Edmunds, the brother of Bills’ linebacker Tremaine Edmunds starting at strong safety.

 

The Steelers may have a solid secondary, but Josh Allen and the Bills’ receivers are better. Pittsburgh doesn’t have anyone who can run with Stefon Diggs, not that anyone can cover him 1-on-1 anyway. Even if Fitzpatrick keeps a close watch on Diggs, other receivers will get open. The Bills have too many weapons to contain.

 

  • Bills OL vs. Steelers front seven

 

One group that could lose their position battle is the Buffalo offensive line against the Steelers’ defensive line in the trenches. No, this isn’t the Steel Curtain, but the current front seven is among the league’s best.

 

Individually, Cameron Heyward, T.J. Watt, and Melvin Ingram can all wreak havoc. With three game-wreckers to deal with, the Bills won’t be able to double-team any of them consistently. This game will be an excellent test for how well the Bills’ OL can hold up against the elite pass-rushes in the NFL.

 

  • Bills DL vs. Steelers’ right tackle

 

While the Bills could have their issues up front, the Steelers’ offensive line is in shambles. The Steelers have replaced all but one of their starting offensive linemen from last season. Meaning they could take some time to jell. Most don’t expect the Steelers OL group to be very good after losing three Pro Bowl players.

 

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© Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports

The Bills should be able to feast upon the misfortunes of the Steelers O-line. Maybe we’ll even get to see Gregory Rousseau and Boogie Basham have some early success. 

 

  • Bills LBs vs. Najee Harris

 

Rookies are always a mystery until they get on the field. But it appears Steelers rookie running back Najee Harris is the real deal. One of the biggest downfalls of the Pittsburgh offense a year ago was not having an efficient ground game. Despite a weaker offensive line, Harris should be able to bring smashmouth football back to Steel City.

 

Buffalo hopes to get better play out of their linebackers and their defensive line this season. Not giving any ground up to Harris could throw the Steelers off their game. They know the Bills have one of the better secondaries in the NFL, so the game plan could run through Harris. We’ll see if the rookie’s ready for the Bills Rumbling Herd.

Buffalo Bills Week 1 game prediction

  • Last season’s record: Buffalo Bills 13-3, reached AFC Conference Championship game
  • Pittsburgh Steelers 12-4, reached Wild Card game

 

As it is for each team around the league, Week 1 is a big game. When Super Bowl aspirations are in the back of everyone’s mind, nobody wants to start their season 0-1. However, one of these two playoff teams from a year ago will ultimately begin their year with a loss. 

 

The Steelers have a lot of question marks. Is their offensive line capable of protecting 39-year-old Ben Roethlisberger? Can the OL create holes for Najee Harris and the running game? Is Big Ben still an above-average QB capable of leading a team to the playoffs on the back of a strong defense?

 

Josh Allen and the Bills need to prove that last year was no anomaly, and it was a sign of things to come. Retaining a lot of the roster from a year ago, the Bills should theoretically run it back with more success. 

 

Another year in the system should make the Bills even better offensively, and the defense has a lot of young pieces capable of taking the next step in their development. Strong on both sides of the ball, the Bills can win a hard-fought battle at home. By taking advantage of the Steelers’ weaknesses on their offensive line and having an explosive offense few can slow down, look for the Bills to win.

 

Game prediction: 27-16 Bills victory

 

 

BillsFans.com - Andrew Buller-Russ 

 

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Kansas City Chiefs vs. Buffalo Bills Conference Championship Review

 


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Nice read setting us up for the big game OP. 

 

Its no secret the Steelers like to run the football. Now they have a player in Najee Harris that fits the long running Steeler tradition. As a bama fan I watched Harris and he's a punishing runner that will literally throw his whole body through the air at would be defenders. Most of you here know I coveted Harris heavily and wanted him here in Buffalo.

 

Well surprise, surprise, now here he comes...  

 

 

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10 hours ago, Figster said:

Nice read setting us up for the big game OP. 

 

Its no secret the Steelers like to run the football. Now they have a player in Najee Harris that fits the long running Steeler tradition. As a bama fan I watched Harris and he's a punishing runner that will literally throw his whole body through the air at would be defenders. Most of you here know I coveted Harris heavily and wanted him here in Buffalo.

 

Well surprise, surprise, now here he comes...  

 

 

Thank you. Admittedly, I don't watch a ton of college football, but I enjoy the big games. With that said, I definitely hear a lot of the hype. The lead-up to the draft is one of my favorite times of the year and yes, I learned a lot about Najee and the rest of the prospects in that time. But nothing can prepare you like the real thing. I'm looking forward to seeing how Najee Harris adjusts to the speed of the NFL, but by all appearances he will be just fine. It's scary to think the Steelers may have landed their power-runner for the next ten years. 

To be fair, Rousseau looks pretty good too 😃 Can't help but wonder how feverish Beane and crew were trying to trade up for Najee, but maybe they had their sights set on Rousseau the whole time. Still surprised all they did to address their RB group was sign Breida, but here we are. Most RBs are a dime a dozen, let's hope Harris is a slow learner 😅

Edited by ABR
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1 minute ago, ABR said:

Thank you. Admittedly, I don't watch a ton of college football, but I enjoy the big games. With that said, I definitely hear a lot of the hype. The lead-up to the draft is one of my favorite times of the year and yes, I learned a lot about Najee and the rest of the prospects in that time. But nothing can prepare you like the real thing. I'm looking forward to seeing how Najee Harris adjusts to the speed of the NFL, but by all appearances he will be just fine. It's scary to think the Steelers may have landed their power-runner for the next ten years. 

To be fair, Rousseau looks pretty good too 😃 Can't help but wonder how feverish Beane and crew were trying to trade up for Najee, but maybe they had their sights set on Rousseau the whole time. Still surprised all they did to address their RB group was sign Breida, but here we are. Most RBs are a dime a dozen, let's hope Harris is slow learner 😅

I agree on Rousseau, and the equalizer in a rookie vs rookie NFL pro debut. The Steelers Oline is suspect IMO. With that in mind I'm giving Buffalo the edge.

 

Myself personally, going with what we have has been a big confidence booster for Singletary.  I'm expecting a more powerful and decisive Singletary and the Bills run game to play a bigger part in the Daboll O.

 

I think he matches Harris in determination and running skills and the Bills Oline makes the difference.

 

Go Bills!!! 

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7 minutes ago, Figster said:

I agree on Rousseau, and the equalizer in a rookie vs rookie NFL pro debut. The Steelers Oline is suspect IMO. With that in mind I'm giving Buffalo the edge.

 

Myself personally, going with what we have has been a big confidence booster for Singletary.  I'm expecting a more powerful and decisive Singletary and the Bills run game to play a bigger part in the Daboll O.

 

I think he matches Harris in determination and running skills and the Bills Oline makes the difference.

 

Go Bills!!! 

Yeah... that Steelers line is scary bad lol. Hoping to see the Bills front seven feast! It helps Singletary knows what to expect. It's all new for Harris. Should be a fun one. 

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7 hours ago, ABR said:



To be fair, Rousseau looks pretty good too 😃 Can't help but wonder how feverish Beane and crew were trying to trade up for Najee, but maybe they had their sights set on Rousseau the whole time. Still surprised all they did to address their RB group was sign Breida, but here we are. Most RBs are a dime a dozen, let's hope Harris is slow learner 😅

Bills had no intention of spending 1st round pick or big money on any RB.

Team is built to throw, in a league built to favor passing

RB will be low cost item for the Bills 

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19 minutes ago, Spartacus said:

Bills had no intention of spending 1st round pick or big money on any RB.

Team is built to throw, in a league built to favor passing

RB will be low cost item for the Bills 

Haha yeah that's true. Good point. Running backs aren't so common in the first anymore unless they're special. The Steelers were desperate, creating a larger need. 

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13 hours ago, Spartacus said:

Bills had no intention of spending 1st round pick or big money on any RB.

Team is built to throw, in a league built to favor passing

RB will be low cost item for the Bills 

Najee Harris catches as well as most WR's in the NFL IMO.

 

I think If Harris is there without trading up, he becomes a Bill IMO.

 

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On 9/10/2021 at 9:00 PM, snafu said:

I’m so damn nervous about this game!

 

 

 My initial impression before preseason began of Brandon Beane's draft and FA acquisition work was lackluster. Is this enough to put Buffalo over the top.  After watching preseason action. I've really begun to buy into our GM's abilities to fine tune an already talented roster and bring us the kind of talent and depth that builds a Championship caliber football team. Big test today !

 

Its one game to the start of a long 17 game season,

 

and Its a big one...

 

Go Bills!!! 

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