Steelers vs. Bills: 4 storylines that will dominate Week 1

Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images) /
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Josh Allen, T.J. Watt, Buffalo Bills, Pittsburgh Steelers
Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) scrambles away from Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt (90) Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

The Steelers open up their 2021 campaign on the road against the Bills, and these hot storylines will end up grabbing all the attention.

All the offseason narratives, preseason hype and hope, overblown overreactions and much more finally get to be put to the test — or to bed — with the Pittsburgh Steelers finally kicking off their 2021 regular-season campaign with an awfully tough road matchup against a top contender within the AFC, the Buffalo Bills.

It’ll actually be refreshing to see many of the questions facing Pittsburgh for the last few months finally answered, at least to some degree. And while there are plenty of reasons for excitement, there are also notable concerns, too.

There will be plenty of Week 1 overreactions, yes, but that doesn’t mean whatever storylines that accompany head coach Mike Tomlin and Co. will be answered right away either.

Nevertheless, here are the four biggest storylines fans and analysts will be talking about with the Steelers in this Week 1 bout.

No. 4: What’s the Steelers’ deal with T.J. Watt?

At the moment of this writing, Pittsburgh remains at an impasse with All-Pro EDGE T.J. Watt, who held himself out of full-team workouts during training camp and the preseason in search of a contract extension.

Watt, playing on the fully guaranteed fifth-year option of his rookie deal, certainly deserves to be paid like the NFL’s top-level pass-rusher he is, and the Steelers defense is infinitely better with Watt in the mix anyway.

Tomlin sounded confident Watt would be on the field in Week 1, and extension talks can wind up finalizing literally at a moment’s notice, often with the player being the last one to know, as the front office and a player’s agent will be having those conversations separately.

But if no deal is imminent, there will inevitably be plenty of focus on Watt’s availability against Buffalo and, should he play, just how up to game-play speed he is.

Hopefully, that’s all resolved sooner than later.