The Steelers and 49ers are one of the most demanding games to pick in Week 1, and most pundits seem split down the middle. But the upside is that the Steelers have drawn many people into their allure. Could Pittsburgh knock off one of the NFL’s best rosters in Week 1? History says it’s certainly possible, and they have done it in back-to-back seasons against the Bills and Bengals.
One national pundit buying what the Steelers are selling is Colin Cowherd. He loves the roster, and it’s just Kenny Pickett that is his main question. But he is high enough on Pickett to like what they do, and he sees the Steelers knocking off the 49ers on Sunday.
“I’m taking Pittsburgh,” Cowherd said. “They ended last season on a four-game winning streak and won their last five games when Kenny Pickett was healthy. T.J. Watt returns; they were 8-2 when he was healthy. They have emerging young offensive stars — Diontae Johnson, George Pickens, Jaylen Warren, Darnell Washington — it is a stacked roster. We just don’t know what Pickett is, but this defense in the last seven weeks crushed people. They suffocated offenses. I’d argue they could go toe-to-toe with the 49ers as the best defense in the NFL…Steelers win 24-23.”
Cowherd has raised some concerns about how the Steelers build their rosters. But he likes the Steelers’ talent and thinks they can match up well against the 49ers. Generally, I feel this game will come down to how the defenses play and can stop the other group’s weapons. With two young quarterbacks, this one has the potential for many turnovers. For Pittsburgh to win, they need Pickett to show that his breakout in the preseason is real.
The team receives plenty of hype, but Week 1 is a chaos agent. Anything that will happen can happen, and so this game, with the Steelers at home, has the potential to be an upset for Pittsburgh to pull off. The team needs to play at a high level in all phases against a team this talented.