Mike Tomlin vs. Kyle Shanahan
It's the defensive mind against the offensive mind. Mike Tomlin enters Week 1 of the 2023 season with not so much as a single losing season under his belt and a Super Bowl ring on his finger. Meanwhile, Shanahan has been very close to winning it all, and his team was one of the best in the NFL last year.
This is an uncommon opponent for the Steelers, as they play the 49ers just once every four years. Pittsburgh can't be caught napping when trying to defend against Shanahan's offense. San Francisco's head coach is the king when it comes to getting a defense to flow in one direction before realizing the play is headed elsewhere.
There's a chance the Steelers could get killed on the occasional play-action bootleg in which receivers are streaming open across the middle of the field. Shanahan loves to keep defenses guessing.
This is where Mike Tomlin comes in. The experienced defensive-minded HC will be working closely with defensive coordinator, Teryl Austin, to make sure his defense stays disciplined against one of the more deceptive playbooks in the league. It's a battle between two of the best head coaches in the league to see which one will outthink the other.