SNF Injuries: Steelers Missing Defense, Bills At Full Strength

  • Joe Haden and Robert Spillane will be missing from the Steelers defense on Sunday Night.
  • The Bills will have Jaquan Johnson as an absence, leaving them at mostly full strength.
  • Ben Roethlisberger is set to play, but there’s concern amongst the Steelers brass as to whether or not his knees will hold up.

LAS VEGAS - The injury report for Sunday Night Football is out, and it is revealing, although not in the way it might be expected to be.

There are only a few expected absences for this game: Steelers CB Joe Haden and LB Robert Spillane, and Bills S Jaquan Johnson.

However, the headline story here is that Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger is listed as good to go on the injury report despite concern about nagging knee injuries.

Joe Haden, Robert Spillane and Jaquan Johnson

Haden, Spillane and Johnson are the most expected absences of the bunch, and they are of varying importance.

Haden has been in the league with the Steelers for 10 years, and is a constant presence on their defense.

His absence will be felt, although he is not irreplaceable, losing an important CB could be relevant against a Bills wide receiver corps with a lot of weapons.

Haden’s an important piece of the defense, starting every game this season, and even scored a touchdown in Week 12.

Look for the Bills’ WR2 and 3, Cole Beasley and Gabriel Davis, to make moves during this game with the Steelers’ secondary depleted.

Robert Spillane has started every week for the Steelers since Week 7. Spillane’s absence will also be felt in the heart of the Steelers' defense.

On the Bills side, there will be several players missing from the game, of varying importance.

Tyler Kroft has been a starter due to COVID issues in the Bills' TE room, while Jaquan Johnson has not started a game this season.

Trent Murphy is the biggest loss to the Bills, a consistent contributor from the DE position, with two sacks on the season.

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In other words, of the known absences, the Steelers are missing serious pieces of the team, while the Bills are nearly full strength.

This could be impacting the SNF betting line, where the Steelers are actually underdogs despite having a far better record than the Bills.

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Buffalo Bills

  • Pittsburgh Steelers +2.0 (-105)
  • Buffalo Bills -2.0 (-115)

Ben Roethlisberger

Speaking of reasons the Steelers might be underdogs in this matchup, there are more concerns about the state of QB Ben Roethlisberger than the injury report lets on.

Roethlisberger was a full participant in practice, but internally, the Steelers are reported to have “serious concern” about his knee, per Jason La Canfora.

The Steelers rely heavily on Roethlisberger for their pass-heavy offensive style, and they have a lot of weapons at WR for him to exploit.

An injury to his knees could render him less mobile and more vulnerable in the pocket, and hamstring their playcalling.

However, Roethlisberger has proved up to the task in most games so far this season, although if there is a weak point of this Steelers team, it is probably him.