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Steelers’ good fortune of missing top tier QBs could continue with possible Jameis Winston suspension

In 2017, the Steelers’ defense was extremely fortunate in avoiding big-name quarterbacks, and it looks like this trend might continue in 2018.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Carolina Panthers Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Last year the Pittsburgh Steelers were a ridiculously lucky defense. When you look back on the schedule, you see just how fortunate they were in many ways:

Week 2 - vs. Vikings

No Sam Bradford, instead faced Case Keenum well before he found his footing with Minnesota.

Week 10 - @ Colts

No Andrew Luck, instead played Jacoby Brissett at Lucas Oil Field.

Week 12 - vs. Packers

No Aaron Rodgers, instead the defense was barely able to make enough plays to beat Brett Hundley.

Week 16 - @ Texans

Deshaun Watson was injured, and the Steelers beat up on whatever warm body Houston was throwing onto the field that week.

On top of all those, the Steelers were fortunate enough to play the Cleveland Browns twice during their winless season.

So, yeah, the team had some pretty good fortune when it came to avoiding big-name quarterbacks — and this trend might just continue in 2018.

The first three games of 2018 are as follows:

Week 1 - @ Cleveland
Week 2 - vs. Kansas City
Week 3 - @ Tampa Bay

It’s in the third game against the Buccaneers and Jameis Winston where the Steelers may have gotten another stroke of luck. According to Trevor Sikkema of the Pewter Report, Winston’s camp is preparing itself for a 3-game suspension to start the 2018 season, meaning he wouldn’t be permitted to be with the team for that Week-3 matchup.

This per Sikkema’s article:

But, amidst the positive vibes there has always been a dark cloud in the background, and that is the ongoing investigation by the NFL of Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston’s alleged involvement in a female Uber driver’s allegation that Winston groped her during a stop at the drive-through of a Mexican restaurant in Scottsdale, Arizona, March 13, 2016.

Since November when the news broke, things have been pretty silent and ambiguous.

Until now.

On Wednesday, on ESPN Radio 97.9 in Tallahassee, long-time host Jeff Cameron said that Winston’s camp is, in fact, preparing for a suspension.

“This is what I do know: the Winston camp is prepared for the NFL to levy a suspension of some kind,” Cameron said. “The thought from the Winston camp is that would be a maximum of three games. I do not know at this time whether or not they plan to appeal, and I do not know that three games is an accurate number. I’ve been told that would seem to be the maximum number of games that the suspension could be. It’s also likely that it’s less than that and it’s one game.”

There’s a strong chance Winston doesn’t get three games, or perhaps is given a 3-game suspension and then has it reduced after his probable appeal. In either case, it would mean the Steelers would have to deal with Winston in Week 3, compared to the alternative.

Maybe the Steelers will get lucky again, thanks to Winston’s misfortune, but I have a feeling the Steelers’ defense isn’t looking for any handouts. Stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers heading into the 2018 regular season.