The Pittsburgh Steelers will play their seventh game of the 2017 regular season at home Sunday afternoon against the Cincinnati Bengals with a chance to improve their record to 5-2 and take over the No. 1 seed in the AFC. As usual, I will attempt to project the seven inactives for each and every Steelers game of the 2017 season and below is my best guess as to which seven players won’t be given helmets Sunday at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.
Game inactives are officially announced 90 minutes before kickoff, so make sure you check back at that time to see the names of the players for both teams who will be sitting the game out.
Joshua Dobbs – As usual, Dobbs will be one the Steelers seven inactives for Sunday’s game against the Bengals. The rookie quarterback has yet to dress for a game this year and barring injury, his only chance of getting a helmet might come in Week 17 if the Steelers already have a certain playoff seed locked up that can’t be improved.
Stephon Tuitt – Sunday will mark the third game that Tuitt has missed this season due to an injury. He surprisingly showed up on the Steelers injury report on Wednesday with a back injury after failing to practice earlier that day and never found his way on the field the remainder of the week. Tuitt was officially riled out for Sunday’s game against the Bengals on Friday and that means defensive tackle Daniel McCullers will likely dress in Week 7 as the team’s fifth defensive lineman. It’s unknown when exactly Tuitt injured his back during the Steelers Week 6 road win over the Kansas City Chiefs.
Marcus Gilbert – Gilbert attempted to return from his hamstring injury this past Sunday for the game against the Chiefs but only lasted 22 offensive plays before re-injuring it. After failing to practice all week, Gilbert was listed as doubtful on the team’s Friday injury report and thus isn’t likely to play Sunday against the Bengals. With Gilbert expected to miss Sunday’s game, Chris Hubbard will once again start in his place at right tackle. Gilbert being inactive again will also likely result in backup offensive lineman Matt Feiler dressing for Sunday’s game against the Bengals.
Justin Hunter – With Steelers wide receiver Eli Rogers seemingly now back in good graces with the coaches, Hunter has gone back to being on the inactive list as of last Sunday. The team normally only dresses five wide receivers in total and the fact that Hunter isn’t a special teams contributor also hurts his chances of getting a helmet on game days in the future.
Jerald Hawkins – Hawkins hasn’t dressed for a game this season and that’s unlikely to change on Sunday even though Gilbert will likely miss the contest with his hamstring injury. As previously mentioned Feiler is expected to be the Steelers seventh dressed offensive lineman on Sunday just as he’s been a few times already this season.
Xavier Grimble – Grimble was inactive in Week 6 and that marked the first time this season he’s failed to dress for a game. With guard Ramon Foster set to return on Sunday from his one-game absence due to injury, backup offensive lineman B.J. Finney will likely go back to playing the seldom used extra blocker role that Hubbard usually plays when Gilbert is dressed for game. Grimble isn’t an overly great special teams player so that might also play a part in him ultimately not getting a helmet on Sunday.
Arthur Moats – Moats was inactive in Week 6 and that was the first time that he hasn’t dressed for a game since he arrived in Pittsburgh several years ago. Last week, Moats’ helmet went to fellow outside linebacker James Harrison and there’s no reason to think that won’t happen again on Sunday against the Bengals. However, should the Steelers ultimately decide to dress all nine of their linebackers on Sunday, rookie cornerback Brian Allen might wind up being the team’s final inactive player.