3 keys of the game for Steelers vs. Bills for Sunday night

Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Steven Nelson (22) (Photo Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports)
Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Steven Nelson (22) (Photo Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Ulysees Gilbert Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) /

Overcoming the mass of injuries

In probably the first time in the past two seasons, are the Steelers in trouble on defense?

Heading into a game where the other team has one of the better dual-threat QBs and Stefon Diggs outside, missing your number one cornerback and the bulk of your LBs sounds like one of the worst scenarios to prepare for.

For the middle of the defense, the Steelers will rely heavily on newcomer LB Avery Williamson to not only be the leader of this decimated group but in wearing the green dot on his helmet for the first full-time this year, symbolizing the play-caller. Likely accompanied by safety Marcus Allen, Pittsburgh has also responded in activating LB Ulysees Gilbert III and elevating Tegray Scales from the practice squad. This will Gilbert’s third appearance in a game this season, Scales is set to make his professional debut.

On the boundary, the faces should all be the same but look for an uptick in snap counts for a couple of them. CB Cameron Sutton should be a full-time starter for a second-straight week as Mike Hilton mans nickel responsibilities. Justin Layne comes in once again when running dime & possibly James Pierre finds more work in the defensive rotation. In good news for the secondary, the return of CB Steven Nelson from a recent knee injury couldn’t have come at a perfect time.

The Bills are on a scoring streak of 27 points or more per game in the past month but struggled in finding a consistent running game. Turnovers have also been pretty friendly to come by for their opponents, if Pittsburgh can find a way to win on early downs, it makes it all easier.