Braden Smith Vs. T.J Watt
Last season, both T.J Watt and Bud Dupree absolutely abused Smith, who tends to struggle against more athletic pass-rushers. Braden has taken a massive step forward this season, and looks much more prepared to compete against the Steelers elite duo of edge defenders. This matchup will be key to the passing game, and whether Rivers has enough time to get into a rythm.
Quenton Nelson Vs. Cameron Heyward
While this matchup last season was not as one-sided as the one mentioned above, the hard truth is that Heyward was able to beat Nelson quite consistently. Sure, Nelson was banged up on that one, but Big Q surely remembers Cameron and will look to perform much better. This matchup will be key both for the running and passing game.
Xavier Rhodes Vs. JuJu Smith-Schuster
I definitely do not want JuJu posting a victory dance on TikTok after defeating the Colts, so Rhodes will have to do everything possible to shutdown the Steelers #1 option in the passing game. Taking away JuJu is the key for stopping the Steelers one dimensional offense.
Kenny Moore Vs. Diontae Johnson
While JuJu is clearly the top dog in the Steelers offense, the player that actually scares me the most is Diontae Johnson. Johnson runs some of the best routes in the NFL, and his ability to get easy separation is impressive. The problem with Johnson has always been drops, but on the occasions he manages to catch the ball fireworks ensue. Moore will probably be on top of him all day long, as he has been playing really well lately.
Rodrigo Blankenship Vs. Heinz Field Turf
Surely we all remember Vinatieri’s missed kick last year in the final minute of the game that costed the Colts the game. Kicking in Heinz Field, especially in the cold, is really, really rough. This will be the toughest test in the season for Blankenship yet, and if the game goes down to the wire, then the Colts will need Hot Rod to be at his finest.