It is only the first week of the season, but that does mean there are no key absences for the Bills. In fact, one key absence may change how the game is completely played by the Steelers’ offense.
On Friday, Bills Head Coach Sean McDermott said that key nose tackle and run stopper Star Lotulelei would miss Sunday’s contest with a calf injury. Lotulelei has not practiced in two weeks after suffering the injury, and it looks like the Bills will be missing a key piece of their run defense. He is the only true 1-technique the Bills have on the roster, so this could force them to shuffle some pieces around against what they like. It also can lead to easier sledding for Najee Harris and the offensive line on the ground.
On the other hand, Emmanuel Sanders has a foot injury that has kept him at only limited participation the entire week. The Bills added Sanders to allow a smooth route runner with quicks to make defenses respect the middle of the field more against single-high coverage. If he is out, it is not the end of the world, but it would make life just a little bit harder on Stefon Diggs, and easier on Minkah Fitzpatrick.