We are gearing up for what could be the 'Blizzard Bowl' of the north... and we are all here for it. The Pittsburgh Steelers defied the odds and found a way to make the playoffs following a three-game skid to begin the month of December. Now, with a bit of outside help from the Titans, Mike Tomlin's team has cashed their ticket to the biggest tournament on turf.
The Steelers will face a surging Buffalo Bills team that has gotten hot at just the right time. Pittsburgh is the biggest underdog of any playoff team entering Super Wild Card weekend, but the latest Steelers news could shift the odds slightly in their favor.
Steelers vs. Bills game calls for snowy weather in Buffalo
There were rumors early this week that the Steelers vs. Bills game may have to be moved from Buffalo to Cleveland due to potential lake-effect snow and windy weather conditions. However, that doesn't appear to be the case. Here's what NFL Vice President of Communications, Brian McCarthy had to say per Buffalo Sports Director Adam Benigni on X.
""We are monitoring conditions as we do for every game, but there have been no discussions about making a change to the game’s status.""- NFL VP of Communications Brian McCarthy
According to Weather.com, the forecast is calling for morning snow and wind on Sunday in Buffalo with a high chance of snowy precipitation, 25 MPH winds, and a high of 27 degrees. Buffalo is under weather warnings leading up to Sunday, so this has the makings of a 'Snow Bowl' for the Steelers vs. Bills Wild Card game.
UPDATE: The Steelers vs. Bills game has been moved to Monday at 4:30 p.m. ET due to extreme weather conditions.
Minkah Fitzpatrick returns to the Steelers' lineup
The Pittsburgh Steelers are involuntarily swapping out one All-Pro player for another this week. After T.J. Watt was ruled out for the Bills playoff game early in the week due to his MCL injury, it has been confirmed by the team that Minkah Fitzpatrick will be suiting up this week.
Fitzpatrick has been nursing a knee injury that forced him out of action in the second half of the Colts game in Week 14. He missed the final three games to close out the 2023 season. Minkah was also absent for a four-game stint from Week 9 to Week 12 this year after suffering a hamstring injury.
It has been an injury-riddled season for one of Pittsburgh's best players, and Fitzpatrick is still searching for his first interception since the 2022 season. What better time to find it than in the playoffs against Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills?
Pair of Bills players ruled OUT for Wild Card game vs. Steelers
The Steelers aren't the only AFC playoff team dealing with injuries. Their Wild Card opponent is dealing with some ailments as well. On Friday morning, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported that Bills WR Gabe Davis and S Taylor Rapp have officially been ruled out for this Sunday's playoff contest.
Pittsburgh catches a bit of a break here, as Gabe Davis has been a playoff monster in the past while Taylor Rapp made an interception in Week 18 against the Dolphins to seal the victory. These losses don't hold a candle to the absence of T.J. Watt this week, but Buffalo's injuries plus the weather conditions have a chance to level the playing field just a bit this Sunday.