In professional football, every team is talented enough to beat an opponent on any given day (these are the best players in the world, after all). Because of this, having certain advantages on your side can certainly help aid a team in tough matchups. The Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing to take on an uber-talented 49ers team that has made it to the NFC Championship game two years in a row.
Because of this, it's not surprising to see San Francisco favored in this contest. But perhaps this should be why we should be leaning toward Pittsburgh in this Week 1 contest. Here are three big advantages the Steelers currently hold over the 49ers in the season-opener.
1. Steelers are healthier
So much of an NFL team's success depends on the health of its players. The Steelers suffered a major setback last year when T.J. Watt was on IR with a pectoral tear, but we could see how quickly they started trending back in the right direction when healthy.
On the first official injury report, the 49ers had 11 players listed with injuries -- 2 of whom did not practice, while another 7 were limited participants. While most of these players are expected to suit up on Sunday, some -- including starting safeties Talanoa Hufanga and Tashaun Gipson -- may not be at full strength.
On the other hand, the Steelers are one of the healthiest teams in the league heading into the 2023 season. Apart from a season-ending knee injury to Cory Trice Jr. this summer, the rest of their team is pretty much healthy and ready to go.
The only players who showed up on the injury report for Pittsburgh were Larry Ogunjobi and Cameron Heyward. Ogunjobi was limited with a lingering foot issue, but Heyward's limited participation was non-injury related. This is a very healthy Steelers team entering the season, and it's one advantage they hold over the 49ers.