Welcome to the Pittsburgh Steelers 2023 season! They’ll have the honor of hosting their season opener for the first time since 2014 — and boy, is this a different era than it was back in 2014.
The last time the Steelers opened Week 1 at Heinz Field — erm, I mean, Acrisure Stadium, the following was true:
- A first-class stamp cost $0.49.
- The average interest rate on a 30-year mortgage was 4.207%.
- The average cost of a Steelers ticket was $83.97.
- We were still in the Killer B’s era.
- The Steelers were still the only team in NFL history with six Super Bowl wins...
You get the point. It’s been a while since the Steelers have enjoyed a home opener. Here’s a full preview of what to expect as the Steelers host the 49ers in Week 1.
Week 1 lowdown: News & Notes for 49ers vs. Steelers
The Pittsburgh Steelers head into the 2023 season coming off a red-hot preseason, where they went undefeated and QB Kenny Pickett shined. He led the offense to five touchdowns over his five offensive drives, with a new-look offensive line, a promising corps of wide receivers and tight ends, and a whole slew of superstars on the defense.
The 49ers, meanwhile, have seemingly been making headlines all offseason... for all of the wrong injuries, from an elbow injury to QB Brock Purdy that ended their postseason dreams to their handling of the situation with former No. 3 overall pick Trey Lance to the holdout of DE Nick Bosa.
Luckily for the 49ers, it seems that each of these three issues has been largely resolved. Purdy looks healthy with the help of a load management schedule that he’s observed throughout the preseason. Trey Lance is now a Cowboy. Then, there’s Bosa, who’s officially ended his holdout after becoming the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history. What could trip them up is
Speaking of those injuries... let’s take a look at the Week 1 injury report for the 49ers vs. Steelers.
Week 1 injury report
Wednesday, September 6
Limited: Cam Heward (rest day), Larry Ogunjobi (foot)
Thursday, September 7
DNP: Cam Heward (stomach)
Limited: Larry Ogunjobi (foot)
The Steelers enter the 2023 season with a relatively clean injury report, with just two players highlighting the list — a true gift entering Week 1, having avoided significant injuries to this point, outside of rookie CB Cory Trice Jr. DT Larry Ogunjobi has been managing a foot injury suffered in Steelers training camp back in August, though HC Mike Tomlin has noted there’s no concern of a long-term injury.
With that, the biggest name of note is DT Cam Heyward. After being listed as limited on Wednesday with a veteran rest day, he was downgraded to DNP with a stomach issue, though it’s unclear whether this is an injury or an illness. Heyward has missed just 11 total games in his 12 NFL seasons (nine of which were in 2016 when he suffered a torn pec), so fans can keep their fingers crossed that his absence was more precautionary than anything.
San Francisco 49ers
Wednesday, September 6
DNP: C Jon Feliciano (illness), OT Trent Williams (not injury related)
Limited: S Tashaun Gipson (back), S Talanoa Hufanga (knee), TE George Kittle (groin), RB Jordan Mason (foot), WR Ray-Ray McCloud (wrist), K Jake Moody (quad), LB Oren Burks (knee)
Full: Brock Purdy (elbow), George Odum (shoulder)
Thursday, September 7
DNP: CB Charvarius Ward (heel), S Talanoa Hufanga (not injury related/knee)
Limited: S Tashaun Gipson (back), TE George Kittle (groin), RB Jordan Mason (foot), WR Ray-Ray McCloud (wrist), K Jake Moody (quad), LB Oren Burks (knee), DE Nick Bosa (not injury related)
Full: Brock Purdy (elbow), George Odum (shoulder), C Jon Feliciano (illness), OT Trent Williams (not injury related)
While the Steelers enjoy a relatively clean injury report to this point, the 49ers cannot say the same. Most notably, cornerback Charvarius Ward popped up on Thursday’s injury report as DNP with a heel injury, after not being listed on Wednesday’s report at all. Ward led the 49ers cornerbacks with a 78.3 PFF coverage grade last season, rated sixth among 118 qualifying corners. With several players in the secondary on the injury report, this secondary could be the one point of weakness in an overall very strong defense.
49ers vs. Steelers game odds, via DraftKings Sportsbook
Point spread: Steelers +2
Moneyline odds: 49ers -130, Steelers +110
The Steelers are seeing all kinds of rareties in Week 1 of the 2023 season. Not only will they play the very rare home opener, but they’ll also play the rare home opener as underdogs. Heading into Friday, 43% of the handle and 34% of the bets are on Pittsburgh to cover, while 54% of the handle and 35% of bets are on the Steelers moneyline (AKA, to win).