The Pittsburgh Steelers will play the Denver Broncos on the road Sunday in an AFC Divisional Round playoff game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High and as usual, here is my weekly guess at what the seven-player inactive list might look like when it is released 90 minutes before kickoff.
Antonio Brown – The Steelers won’t have their leading receiver Sunday in Denver as Brown was officially ruled out for the game on Friday due to a concussion that he suffered last Saturday night in the AFC Wild Card game. This will mark the first game that Brown has missed since Week 12 of the 2012 season. With Brown out, rookie wide receiver Sammie Coates will dress in his place. Additionally, fellow wide receiver Markus Wheaton is expected to return punts with Brown sidelined.
DeAngelo Williams – Williams will miss a second consecutive game Sunday after suffering a right foot injury in the regular season finale. With Williams sidelined, the Steelers will once again use backup running backs Fitzgerald Toussaint and Jordan Todman in their backfield just as they did last Saturday in the Wild Card game. The hope is that Williams will be healthy enough to play next weekend should the Steelers beat the Broncos and advance to the AFC Championship game.
Byron Stingily – Thanks to the Steelers offensive line remaining healthy this season since starting tackle Kelvin Beachum went down with a knee injury earlier in the year, Stingily hasn’t had to dress for a game. Sunday against the Broncos, Stingily is expected to be inactive once again as backup offensive linemen Chris Hubbard and Doug Legursky should both get helmets in addition to the starting five.
L.T. Walton – Walton is almost an afterthought right now being as he hasn’t dressed for several weeks. The Steelers rookie defensive end is buried on the depth chart and thus there’s no reason for him to get a helmet Sunday in Denver due to the overall health of the other defensive linemen on the 53-man roster being great.
L.J. Fort – Fort hasn’t dressed for a game since being promoted to the Steelers 53-man roster several weeks ago from the practice squad. It doesn’t look like the numbers will break Fort’s way this week so expect him to once again be listed as one of the team’s seven inactive players.
Doran Grant – Grant won’t be needed once again this week and especially since safety Ross Ventrone is back on the 53-man roster to help on special teams. With 5 safeties and 4 cornerbacks already scheduled to get helmets Sunday in Denver, there’s no room for Grant to dress.
Will Johnson – This final inactive spot figures to go to one of three players. Being as Johnson ended the week listed as questionable with a hamstring injury after being limited all week in practice, I will guess that he will be scratched. Should Johnson dress, however, either linebacker Anthony Chickillo or No. 3 quarterback Mike Vick will be the last inactive. It might be wise for the Steelers to dress Vick just in case being as starter Ben Roethlisberger is currently nursing an injured right shoulder.