It’s Week 1 of the regular season and this might be the noisiest and most tumultuous lead-in to a Steelers’ season in the 86 years of the franchise. The Steelers will storm onto the banks of Lake Erie smack dab in the middle of an actual rainstorm, Le’Veon Bell’s refusal to report to the team, criticism of his decision by Steelers players, plus former players and others outside of the organization criticizing Steelers players for said criticism. Add in James Conner as a substitute for Bell, the Steelers starting a rookie in the secondary on a possibly suspect defense, and facing a presumably improved opponent itching to beat them — and you’ve got some major plot points.
With all of these storylines and more, I’ve compiled a list of predictions (some basic and some utterly idiotic) to look for in the Week-1 contest:
- CBS cameras showing multiple pregame shots of fans holding “Where’s Le’Veon?” signs.
- 100% chance of rain means 100% chance of Bruce Arians attempting to say something witty like “Maybe Le’Veon Bell was smart to stay home and keep dry”.
- Myles Garrett finally makes his acquaintance with Ben Roethlisberger in a somewhat aggressive manner and his celebration adds even more insult.
- Yinzers from Burgettstown to Bolivar anoint Garrett as Public Enemy No. 1.
- Jesse James has five catches and two scores (one a two-point conversion) for the Steelers’ offense. Fantasy players from coast-to-coast rush to pick him up next week, only to cut him by Week 6.
- James Conner runs for 91-yards and catches four balls, but still questions remain about his penchant for picking-up-the-blitz.
- Bell, with Adisa Bakari in tow, is seen watching the game at a Parma Fudruckers. He debuts his new single, “Read Between The Lines” at halftime.
- Aditi Kinkhabwala reports that Ben Roethlisberger and Todd Haley did not snub each other in pregame and were heard singing the Peaches and Herb No. 1 hit from 1979... “Reunited”.
- Vegas stops taking over/under bets on how many times Haley and Browns DC Gregg Williams cuss on the sidelines.
- Jarvis Landry outslogs Antonio Brown with more receptions on the day.
- Stephon Tuitt gets two sacks.
- Vince Williams leads both teams with just short of a million tackles...or ten.
- Terrell Edmunds has growing pains as Todd Haley looks to expose the rookie, but he does achieve his first NFL interception.
- I end up having to type “I hope I’m wrong” when a majority of commenters blast me below for my final prediction.
- The noise of the week and the weather combined with overlooking the Browns proves fatal. Cleveland 27 Steelers 23.
Will any of this actually happen? I’ll bet at least one or two. Heck, maybe every one of them. Be sure to post your predictions — basic or bizarre — below.