Here are six players on the Seattle Seahawks’ roster to keep your eye on heading into Week 17.
WR D.K. Metcalf
Steelers rookie cornerback Joey Porter Jr. has this matchup circled in his calendar, and so do we. Metcalf is one of the league’s most physically dominant wide receivers. Standing at 6’4 and 235 pounds, he ran a 4.33-second 40-yard dash coming out of college and has lived up to his billing as an athletic freak of nature. He’s only two yards away from a thousand yard season this year with eight touchdowns through the air — including six in his last six games. He’s a speed demon, a contested catch threat, and a well-known trash talker, making him a great matchup for Porter, who is also known for his physicality and in-game banter.
Although Metcalf is officially listed as questionable entering the game, Seahawks’ head coach Pete Carroll claimed that the star wideout will likely play, meaning there will be a big battle to watch between Metcalf and Porter come Sunday.
RT Abraham Lucas
Lucas, a 2022 third round pick, has emerged as a rock-solid right tackle option for the Seahawks. Placed on injured reserve at the beginning of the season, Lucas didn’t return to the playing field until late November. But the Seattle offense has seen a boost with their starting right tackle back in the lineup, especially on third down. Lucas looks like one of the league’s most promising young tackles despite his injury issues, but he’ll draw one of the toughest matchups of his career on Sunday against Steelers’ pass-rusher T.J. Watt, who is only three sacks away from 20 on the season.
QB Geno Smith
With a little over three thousand passing yards and a 17/9 interception ratio so far this season, Seahawks’ quarterback Geno Smith isn’t exactly on pace to replicate his magical 2022. Still, he’s putting up starting quarterback-level numbers and his above-the-line play is one of the reasons why Seattle is still in playoff contention this season. However, Smith is still banged up with injuries entering Sunday’s game despite being cleared to start. Against a fierce Pittsburgh pass-rush, Smith will have his hands full trying to outduel the Steelers and quarterback Mason Rudolph, who much like Smith, is hoping to have a late-career resurgence. The quarterback battle will be a big aspect of Sunday’s game.
DL Leonard Williams
Williams was a mid-season acquisition for Seattle, and so far he’s been worth the second and fifth round pick the Seahawks traded to get him. The 29-year-old defensive end remains one of the NFL’s best interior defensive linemen, with 4.5 sacks and six tackles for loss to go along with his 49 total tackles so far this season. As a late addition to the team, Williams’ snap counts in Seattle started off as small but he’s since worked his way back and is now one of the most impactful players on the Seahawk defense. He’ll play a big role in defending the Steelers run game on Sunday, and he’ll match up against center Mason Cole at times in the interior: a weak spot in Pittsburgh’s pass protection.
LB Devin Bush and CB Artie Burns
Seattle defenders Jordyn Brooks and Devon Witherspoon are talented starters at linebacker and cornerback, respectively, and worthy of their own sections on this list. However, both will be gametime decisions against Pittsburgh, opening up the likelihood of former Steelers Devin Bush and Artie Burns getting the start — or at least, significant snaps on defense — in Sunday’s game. Both players had forgettable careers in the black and gold, and despite being on a new team, they haven’t shown a sudden improvement like former Steelers such as Kevin Dotson have enjoyed this season. Overall, the two have combined for just 21 total tackles and two passes defensed this year as they’ve largely played in reserve roles with Seattle.
If Brooks and Witherspoon do miss time against the Steelers, both Bush and Burns will have a shot at revenge games against their former team. As for the Steelers, they’ll be well aware of both players’ strengths and weaknesses, looking for favorable matchups in the run and pass game.
Both Seattle and Pittsburgh have 8-7 records and a slew of injuries entering Week 17, meaning it should be an evenly-matched battle on Sunday afternoon.