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Cheat Sheet: Steelers at Bills

How to Watch/Listen

  • TV coverage: Broadcast locally in Pittsburgh on CBS (KDKA-TV)
  • Steelers Radio Network - Game coverage begins at 1:00 p.m. ET; Pregame programming begins at 9:00 a.m.; Postgame coverage starts immediately following the game.
  • Don't miss a minute of the action... check out all of the ways that you can watch, listen and follow along as the Steelers on gameday. Click here >>>

Injury Update

The Steelers head into the first week of the NFL season with a good outlook health-wise, and despite some making their way onto the injury report during the week, they head into the game with a similar good outlook health-wise.

Check out the most updated Injury Report: Click here >>>

Buffalo Bills – News, Notes & Stats

Trends & Streaks

  • Including the playoffs, Buffalo played 10 home games last year and only lost one of them, a 26-17 loss to the Chiefs in week 6.
  • The Bills won 83% of their games last year decided by one score or less. History shows such a winning percentage in those types of games is very unlikely to keep up.
  • After the Bills Week 11 bye week, they concluded the regular season with six straight wins and took that winning streak into the playoffs knocking off the Colts and Ravens before finally falling in Kansas City in the AFC Championship game.
  • In the final three games of the regular season, Buffalo outscored those three opponents (Denver, New England and Miami) by a combined 88 points.

Start Fast, Finish Strong

  • The Bills got up on their opponents very quickly in 2020. On average over the course of their 16 regular season games, Buffalo went into halftime with a six-point lead. Only the Packers and Ravens were better. The Bills 15.5 points produced in the first half and 9.5 first points allowed were both amongst the best in the league.
  • Buffalo scored 314 points in 2019. Last year, that number went up to 501.
  • On a per drive basis, the Bills offense was only bettered by the Packers. Buffalo averaged just under three points produced every time they were given the football. They produced points on 54.5% of their drives, the best in the league and averaged 3.5 offensive touchdowns per game. The Bills were also just one of seven offenses to average six or more yards per play.
  • Of the 11 offensive players that played at least 500 snaps for Buffalo last year, 10 are back with the club in 2021.
  • Injuries were an issue with Buffalo's offensive line though. The Bills had nine different offensive linemen play 75 snaps or more.

About Allen & The O

  • Josh Allen is 25 years old and has been a starting quarterback for Buffalo for three seasons. His improvement since entering the league is staggering. Allen's completion percentage went from 52.8% to 58.8% in his second season and then again up to 69.2% last year. His yards per attempt climbed in each of those seasons and Allen went from 10 touchdown passes as a rookie to 20 in 2019 to 37 a year ago. That is extremely rapid improvement that you just don't see at the NFL level and Allen finished as Aaron Rodgers' runner-up in MVP voting in 2020.
  • Allen has fumbled the football 31 times over those three years. That is second most to Carson Wentz over that timeframe.
  • The Bills punted just 41 times last year. That is the fewest punts in a season by any team since 1990.
  • Only the Cardinals employed a higher percentage of 10 Personnel (1 RB/1 TE) last year with four wide receivers on the field together and no offense had three or more wide outs on the field more regularly than the Bills. Buffalo only trotted out 10 Personnel for four snaps the year before.
  • Stefon Diggs' 197 targets led the NFL as did his 1535 receiving yards.
  • This offense only ran the ball 31% of the time in the first halves of games and just 36% of the time on first downs throughout the course of the entire contest.


  • Tremaine Edmunds and Matt Milano are Buffalo's every down linebackers. But even with Milano missing six games last year due to injury, the Bills still led the NFL by a wide margin in the usage of their nickel package on defense with five defensive backs, two linebackers and four down linemen. The Bills were in nickel over 90% of their snaps while league average was just under 59%. The Jets were the defense in nickel the second most often at 81%.

Series History

This opening week matchup will be the third straight year that Buffalo and the Steelers face off in the regular season and the Bills have won the last two. However, Pittsburgh owns the series lead 16-11, including a 2-1 advantage in playoff matchups. In the 11 times these two teams met between 1993 and 2016, the Steelers won 10. But before that, Buffalo had won seven of the previous eight matchups. And in the 1970s, the Steelers only lost to Buffalo once in six meetings. So, this has truly been a very streaky series between these two clubs and a trend that the Steelers would like to end immediately.

Game action photos from the Steelers' Week 14 game against the Buffalo Bills at Bills Stadium

The Advanced Scout Podcast

Check out Matt's podcast preview on the Bills: Listen Here >>>

Matt's Most Memorable Moment: 1996 Divisional Playoffs: Steelers 40, Bills 21

In the first round of the playoffs, Buffalo beat their divisional rival Dolphins while the Steelers rested on a bye after their 11-5 regular season. That win over Miami was the Bills' 10th straight playoff victory against an AFC opponent. Alex Van Pelt replaced an injured Jim Kelly in the second half and Buffalo was also without Bruce Smith for this contest. Bam Morris scored two late touchdowns to seal the win for Pittsburgh. The Steelers went on to narrowly defeat Indianapolis in the AFC Conference Championship then lose Super Bowl XXX to the Cowboys. That game made Bill Cowher the youngest coach in NFL history to lead his team to a Super Bowl.

Facts from NFL Research

  • Next Gen Stats: the Steelers' defense led the NFL in overall pressure rate, blitz pressure rate, and pressure rate with 4-or fewer pass rushers in 2020 (first team to do so since the 2016 Broncos).
  • In 2020, the Bills did not have a player with more than 5.0 sacks, while and the Steelers allowed the fewest sacks in the NFL (14).
  • The Steelers were the only team with 3+ players with 800+ receiving yards AND 7+ receiving TDs in 2020.
  • The Bills (312) & Steelers (297) WRs were top-2 in receptions in the NFL in 2020.

Key Matchups

  • Steelers Offensive Line vs. Bills Defensive Line-After many years of remarkable continuity, the Steelers offensive line is going through massive changes as we enter the 2021 season. This is a unit with a lot to prove and with a lot of new moving parts. That can lead to communication issues at a position in which understanding your teammates is critical. Buffalo was middle of the pack last year in sack production, but they clearly felt as though that was the portion of their roster that needed the most work. No one player recorded more than five sacks for Buffalo last year and they led the NFL in percentage of their sacks that came from non-defensive linemen. The Bills used their first two draft picks on defensive linemen Gregory Rousseau and Carlos Basham. Last year, the Bills traded away their first-round pick for Stefon Diggs, but their first draft choice was used on AJ Espinosa, another big physical defensive end capable of aligning all over the line of scrimmage. And then the year before that, Buffalo used the ninth overall selection on upfield penetrating defensive tackle Ed Oliver. Buffalo also signed Efe Obada in free agency and Star Lotulelei returns from his opt out. The Bills will expect great returns on these large draft investments in 2021 and now have the depth up front to bring a constant rotation at Pittsburgh's new offensive line.
  • Bills QB Josh Allen vs. Steelers ILB Joe Schobert-The Steelers made a trade with Jacksonville to acquire Schobert on August 14th. Needless to say, he hasn't been a part of the team long. Expect the Bills offensive coordinator, Brian Daboll, as well as Allen to challenge the Steelers' new acquisition both physically and mentally. The Bills do a great job of spreading the field as well as insolating linebackers on wide receivers in the passing game. They excel with the usage of motion and play action and Allen is an exceptional runner of the football. This was one of the NFL's elite offenses last year and Schobert will have his hands full in his first regular season appearance in black and gold.