The San Francisco 49ers could move to 3-0 this Sunday when they host the Pittsburgh Steelers, exclusively live on Sky Sports Action and Main Event. Here is what to expect…
Seasons so far
The Steelers (0-2) are almost unrecognisable compared to the team we’ve seen in recent seasons – at least offensively. After letting Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown walk in the offseason, they have now lost Ben Roethlisberger for the year. The ‘Killers Bs’ are no more.
After a 33-3 demolition at the hands of the Patriots, followed by a tough 28-26 defeat to Seattle in their home opener, is their season over already?
San Francisco (2-0) are one of this year’s surprise teams, if only with a small sample size. They have not faced playoff-level competition, but two road wins – and 72 points – is mighty impressive.
They did it with defense in Week One, with two interception returns of Jameis Winston in Tampa, and exploded offensively in Week Two against the Bengals with 571 total yards – 259 on the ground.
Ones to watch
The future is now for the Steelers. When they selected Mason Rudolph in the third round of last year’s NFL Draft, Roethlisberger said he was “surprised because I thought in the third round you can get some really good players that can help this team win now.”
Now it is Rudolph’s time to help the team win, and he comes in with a year of learning and solid weapons around him.
When James Washington was hauling in 39 touchdowns for Oklahoma State in his college career, who was his QB? None other than Rudolph, and the rapport between these two is something to keep your eyes on. Can Rudolph unlock Washington’s potential as a deep threat?
Don’t let any of this talk of the sophomores take away from the fact that running back James Conner and receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster are the offensive centerpieces, and will be heavily involved on Sunday.
Pittsburgh bolstered their defense this week by trading a first-round pick for last year’s 11th overall pick Minkah Fitzpatrick, a fantastic defensive back. How much will he play? And how much of an impact might he have?