Steelers vs. 49ers: 5 things to know about Pittsburgh's Week 1 matchup

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Steelers defense better be ready against an explosive 49ers offense

This is going to be a huge battle of strength vs. strength. The Steelers will have their hands full with a 49ers offense that features the likes of Purdy, RB Christian McCaffrey, TE George Kittle, and receivers Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, Jauan Jennings, and former Steeler Ray-Ray McCloud.

San Francisco averaged 26.5 points per game last season to rank sixth in the NFL in that category. In Purdy's first seven starts (final five of the regular season and two in playoffs) the team averaged an incredible 32.6 points per game.

McCaffrey is a huge reason that Purdy was able to perform so well, as he provided an immediate impact after being traded from Carolina in week seven. The 49ers went a perfect 10-0 over the final 10 games of the regular season with him in the starting lineup. His skills both rushing and receiving accounted for over 1,200 yards of total offense and 10 TD's with San Francisco.

The 49ers did lose passing game coordinator Bobby Slowik, who left to become the offensive coordinator of the Houston Texans during the off-season. However, head coach Kyle Shanahan has a great offensive mind and hired former Denver assistant Klint Kubiak to replace Slowik.

While the Steelers' task on defense may seem daunting, it's fair to think that the same can be said for the 49ers offense.

The Steelers ranked 10th in the NFL last season, allowing 20.4 points per game. But the team allowed just 16.9 points per game when five-time Pro Bowl selection and three-time first All-Pro honoree T.J. Watt was in the lineup.

Watt was injured in the season-opening overtime win over the Bengals and subsequently missed the next seven games. But he returned in week 10 against the Saints and the Steelers went 7-2 down the stretch.

Besides Watt, the Steelers return Cam Heyward at defensive tackle and Minkah Fitzpatrick at safety, two of the best players in the NFL at their respective positions. And don't forget about Alex Highsmith, Watt's running mate on the edge who had 14.5 sacks last year.

So, if any team can slow down Shanahan's explosive offense, it's the Steelers.