When the Bills play the Steelers on Sunday Night Football, it will be the first SNF game played in Buffalo since 2007. The matchup will make NBC SNF history as the Bills (9-3) and Steelers (11-1) have the highest combined winning percentage (.833) for a December or January game. The Steelers lost their first game of the season last week, and this game has major AFC playoff seeding implications for both teams. Sean McDermott was a part of the 2015 Panthers team that went 14-0 before they lost their first game and he explained what he thinks about this Steelers team that's coming to Buffalo on Sunday.
"Outside of last week they were undefeated through 11 games," McDermott stated. "That's hard to do in this league, and it's the same scenario I've been through before. I got respect for the football team, a lot of respect for their leadership, and I mean they're a good and talented roster in all three phases. They've got a good kicking game, they've got a good defense, and they play well on offense. They've got weapons all over the board in all three phases, so it will be a big challenge for us.
"They're a really good defense, and they're fun to watch"
Josh Allen had one of his best games as a pro last Monday against the 49ers. He completed 80 percent of his passes, threw for 375 yards and four touchdowns. This week he will go up against an angry No. 1 ranked Steelers defense that's going to try and prevent another superstar performance from Allen. The Steelers have recorded a sack in 69 straight games which is tied for the most in NFL history. They have one of the most dominant pass rushers in T.J. Watt who currently leads the league with 12 sacks. Allen talked about what stands out to him the most about this 11-1 Steelers team.
"The defense that they've got, obviously, the pass rush with the two guys T.J. Watt and Cam Heyward," Allen said. "They lost Dupree who is a really good player too and you never like to see anybody go down and he was a very tough competitor that we played last year. And in the back end they got some smart guys, Minkah is able to fly around. They're a really good defense, and they're fun to watch. When we're not playing, I like watching them because it looks like they just have a great time playing the game. They have a great time playing for their coach over there, and everything I've heard about coach Tomlin has been nothing but super and fantastic. I've got a lot of respect for him and who he is as a person and as a coach, so I got a lot of respect for the organization over there in Pittsburgh."
Scroll through to see the best photos from Buffalo's practice as they prepare for Week 14 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, presented by Skyworks.
"We got to find ways to make them one dimensional"
The Steelers running game has not been the same since James Conner has been out of the lineup. The running back was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Nov. 28th and was just taken off of it on Wednesday. In his absence, the Steelers run game has not been the same, only averaging 2.6 yards per rush. The Bills rank 24th against the run but have been playing a lot better since coming back from the bye. Jordan Poyer who leads the team in tackles touched on the Steelers rushing attack and praised Conner for his elusiveness as a runner.
"I think the last three or four games they have thrown the ball around 50 times and kind of gotten away from the run, not sure exactly why," Poyer stated. "They have had some struggles, running the football. James Conner is an extremely talented running back, we played him last year, and he makes guys miss at any level of the defense. We have a feeling that they're going to come to try to run the football on us and so we got to find ways to make them one-dimensional and forcing them to throw the ball."
"It's another challenge and something that we thrive on"
Stefon Diggs has been an instant difference-maker for the Bills and is only 94 yards away from setting a new career-high in receiving yards in a single season. With him, Cole Beasley, Gabriel Davis, and the other weapons the Bills have at their disposal, it will be a headache for opposing defenses to try to cover them all. The Steelers defense has done a very good job at limiting receivers this season, ranking third in total yards allowed. Diggs talked about the talent of the Steelers defense and why he's looking forward to playing them.
"They're active, they fly around, send pressure on early downs, and they got a good defense," Diggs said. "One of the guys, it sucks to say but Bud Dupree is a has a hell of a player and it was sad to see him go down. He's a good friend of mine, and a hell of a player so I know that put a little bit of hurt on their defense, but they got other guys that definitely could play at a high level. With Watt at defensive end, and they got some interior guys that can get to the quarterback as well. So, on the outside, it's just gonna be getting open and catching the ball on my end but it's definitely gonna be a task for us and something we look forward to. It's another challenge and something that we thrive on just trying to control what we can control and anticipating that they're gonna throw their best shot at us."