One of the biggest games at Ford Field this year takes place in Week 8, with the Detroit Lions fresh off their bye week. The Lions will host the “Sunday Night Football” crew as they face off in a rare matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Lions and Steelers have played each other just four times since the year 2000, and Pittsburgh has won all four games. The last time the Lions came out victorious was 1998: the notorious overtime coin flip game.
It has been a good four years since the teams faced off in the regular season, so let’s catch up on the latest with the Pittsburgh Steelers with a little help from Behind the Steel Curtain. Here’s a recap of their 2017 offseason.
Notable free agent additions: CB Coty Sensabaugh, DL Tyson Alualu, RB/KR Knile Davis, WR Justin Hunter
The Steelers followed their usual guide to success by not being major players in free agency, but the moves they made filled needed depth positions in the lineup. Steelers fans are constantly disappointed with their lack of movement in free agency, but the organization has never strayed from their plan of building from within, and it clearly works.
Notable free agent departures: LB Lawrence Timmons, WR Markus Wheaton, OLB Jarvis Jones
Of these players, the biggest hit to the team was the loss of Timmons. Wheaton had shown flashes of talent, but struggled to stay on the field, and Jarvis Jones might be one of the worst first round picks in the Kevin Colbert era as GM. Timmons, on the other hand, was the iron man on the inside of the defense, and will be missed for a lot of reasons. However, the Steelers simply couldn’t match the money Timmons was offered in Miami.
Draft picks expected to contribute as rookies: T.J. Watt, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Cameron Sutton, James Conner
Like in 2016, the Steelers will hope they get contributions from their rookies, but hopefully not the same amount of contributions. Last year it was Artie Burns, Javon Hargrave and Sean Davis who all turned into starters by season’s end, but this year it seems the rookies will be more role players than every down starters, barring injury.
Biggest offseason addition: The return of WR Matravis Bryant off suspension. After missing all of 2016, and the Steelers never filling the No. 2 WR position, Bryant will be a welcome, and huge, piece to the Steelers’ offensive puzzle.
Biggest storyline heading into training camp: Le’Veon Bell’s contract situation. While the RB has yet to sign his franchise tag, the contract he receives, or doesn’t receive, will be worth keeping an eye on.
Under-the-radar storyline heading into training camp: The WR and CB training camp battles. Both positions are chalk full of talent, and the two positions will eventually have to make some tough decisions.
Notable injuries heading into training camp: Le’Veon Bell’s groin, Cameron Heyward coming off a torn pectoral
Who will win "Sunday Night Football" on Week 8
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