The Pittsburgh Steelers face an interesting opponent on Sunday in the form of the Buffalo Bills. The bipolar Bills are 6-6 in 2016 and you aren't sure what you are going to get, world beaters or egg beaters. Here are the many cast of characters to familiarize yourself with before Sunday rolls around.
Rex Ryan seems crazy and unpredictable, but he is football smart. You don't know what you are going to get from Rex, but you can guarantee toughness and innovation. Rex has always had and will always have something up his sleeve. He is 60-64 as a head coach overall, 14-14 in Buffalo and 2-3 against Pittsburgh.
Some Other Bills Coaches to know: Asst. HC- Rob Ryan, OC- Anthony Lynn, DC- Dennis Thurman
QB-No. 5 Tyrod Taylor
Taylor is a dangerous weapon with his legs, but his passing falters when under pressure. According to Pro Football Focus, Taylor went 4/15 and was sacked four times when pressured last week against Oakland. In turn, his QB Rating was 15.4 when pressured. The Steelers need to apply as much pressure as possible and force Taylor into mistakes.
Some Other Bills Quarterbacks to know: No. 3 EJ Manuel, No. 7 Cardale Jones
No. 14 Sammy Watkins
Watkins has not always been healthy and available at the pro level, but he is dynamic when he is on the field and needs to be accounted for at all times. Watkins has good ball-plucking ability and is ultra-dangerous after the catch. Watkins has only 12 catches on 23 targets for 181 yards due to only playing four games because of injury. However, half of those catches and most of the yards (118) have come since returning. Artie Burns and Ross Cockrell will be tested with Watkins back at full-strength.
Some Other Bills Receivers to know: No. 10 Robert Woods, No. 15 Brandon Tate, No. 17 Justin Hunter, No. 84 TE Nick O'Leary, No. 85 TE Charles Clay, No. 88 Marquise Goodwin
No. 25 LeSean McCoy
McCoy is, once again, one of the best RBs in the entire league. Among the league leaders in rushing, The Pitt product already has rushed for 949 yards and nine scores, while averaging 5.5 ypc. Shady has five 100+ yard rushing games in 2016 and combines speed and power well.
Some Other Bills Running Backs to know: No. 22 Reggie Bush, No. 35 Mike Gillislee, No. 42 FB Jerome Felton
LG-No. 64 Richie Incognito
There's two ways to look at Richie Incognito. You can choose not to forget his role in the bullying scandal that dominated headlines in 2013 and cost him a year-and-a-half of his career or you can focus on what has happened and not seemed to have happened since. You have a right to do whatever you choose. What was reported in the Ted Wells report about Incognito's behavior was horrendous and left a stain that won't and shouldn't be ignored. However, Icognito has had no demerits since and seems to have adjusted his behavior since. His onfield performance had been nothing short of spectacular. PFF rated him the second-best LG in the game last year and he is following suit this year. Buffalo has the highest rated running attack in the league and Incognito leads the way in making way for Shady McCoy. Stopping the run is paramount for the Steelers to best Buffalo and Incognito stands in their way of doing just that
Some Other Bills Offensive Linemen to know: No. 71 T Cyrus Kouandijo, No. 72 C Ryan Groy, No. 76 RG John Miller, No. 77 LT Cordy Glenn, No. 79 RT Jordan Mills
DT-No. 95 Kyle Williams
Williams has been a mainstay for the Bills on the d-line since his 2006 selection by the Bills in the fifth round. PFF named Williams the best Buffalo player of the past decade and after a subpar 2015, the DE is proving that title right once again with a revival of sorts in 2016. So far, Williams has 3.5 sacks and 55 combined tackles on the year. Williams can still create havoc for offenses. Listen for his name a lot on Sunday.
LDE-No. 99 Marcel Dareus
The 2x Pro Bowler has only played four games this season, but he has amassed 3 1/2 sacks during that time due to supensions and injuries. The big NT is strong, fast and mobile and is one of the leaders of a very dominant Front Seven
Some Other Bills Front Seven to know: No. 50 ILB Ronald Humber, No. 51 LB Brandon Spikes, No 52 MLB Preston Brown, No. 53 ILB Zach Brown, No. 55 OLB Jerry Hughes, No. 57 OLB Lorenzo Alexander, No. 91 DT Leger Douzable, No. 92 DE Adolphus Washington, No. 94 DE Jerel Worthy, No. 98 NT Deandre Coleman, Shaq Lawson
CB-No. 24 Stephon Gilmore
Gilmore leads a talented secondary in Buffalo and has four picks and ten pass-defenses in 2016. He also has moxie. Gilmore, who primarily lines up on the right side only, has reportedly expressed interest in lining up against Antonio Brown this week. Brown has played 45% of snaps against the opposing right corner, so they will get a chance to square of mano-a-mano. Head Coach Rex Ryan has likened Gilmore to the best corners in the league over the past month. It should be a great duel.
Some Other Bills DBs to know: No. 20 FS Corey Graham, No. 21 CB Nickell Robey-Coleman, No. 27 SS James Ihedigbo, No. 28 CB Ronald Darby, No. 29 CB Kevon Seymour, No. 36 S Jonathan Meeks, No. 38 S Sergio Brown
K-No. Dan Carpenter
Carpenter is a very accurate kicker with a strong leg. He has seemed to master kicking in adverse conditions after battling many of a Buffalo winter day over the past four years. 15/19 on field goals and 5/8 from +40-yards is Carpenter. He can beat you in a close game and with the weather expected to be frightful, the weather-tested Carpenter can possibly be the difference.
Some Other Bills Special Teamers to know: No. 6 P Colton Schmidt, No. 15 PR/KR Brandon Tate, No. 22 PR/KR Reggie Bush, No. 65 LS Garrison Sanborn