The Pittsburgh Steelers will play their eighth game of the 2017 regular season on the road Sunday night against the Detroit Lions with a chance to improve their record to 6-2 and remain 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 Ford Field in Detroit.
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 – Nothing has changed with Dobbs this past week as the rookie quarterback remains No. 3 on the team’s depth chart behind starter Ben Roethlisberger and his backup Landry Jones. Dobbs has been inactive for every game so far this season and that was expected. Expect to see Dobbs on the list of seven inactive players every week moving forward barring an injury to the two quarterbacks ahead of him.
Stephon Tuitt – The back injury that Tuitt suffered a week ago Monday while lifting will force him to miss yet another game and his second in a row. In total, this will mark the fourth game that he has missed this season as he also missed the teams Week 2 and Week 3 games with a biceps injury. With Tuitt out, defensive tackle Daniel McCullers will likely dress again. Additionally, fellow defensive end Tyson Alualu will likely start in place of Tuitt and opposite defensive end Cameron Heyward. The team is hopeful that Tuitt will be healthy enough to resume playing after their upcoming bye week.
Marcus Gilbert – Sunday will mark the fifth game this season that Gilbert has missed due to a hamstring injury. The starting right tackle originally suffered the injury in Week 2 and that forced him to miss the team’s next three games. Gilbert then proceeded to re-injure his hamstring early in the team’s Week 6 game. Like Tuitt, the team is hopeful that Gilbert will be healthy enough to resume playing after the bye week. With Gilbert sidelined Sunday night, backup tackle Chris Hubbard will once again start in his place on the right side of the offensive line.
Vance McDonald – McDonald suffered a bruised knee during last Sunday’s game against the Cincinatti Bengals and he ultimately failed to practice this past week. Like Tuitt and Gilbert, McDonald was officially ruled out for the team’s Sunday night game against the Lions on the Friday injury report. This will mark the second game this season that McDonald has missed due to injury as he also missed the Week 2 game with a back issue. With McDonald sidelined Sunday night, backup tight end Xavier Grimble will likely receive more playing time with the offense.
Martavis Bryant – Bryant will be inactive Sunday night against the Lions as punishment for his social media outburst last Sunday night. The seemingly disgruntled wide receiver ran with the scout team this past week in practice and will travel with the team to Detroit. This will mark the first game this season that Bryant has been on the inactive list. After the team’s bye week, he’s expected to be back in the lineup. With Bryant set to be inactive Sunday night, fellow wide receiver Justin Hunter is expected to dress and play in his place. This will mark the third game that Hunter has dressed for this season.
Jerald Hawkins – Hawkins is expected to once again be inactive Sunday night in Detroit as he’s yet to dress for a game this season. The second-year tackle remains buried on the offensive line depth chart behind Matt Feiler, who can play both tackle and guard. Like Dobbs, there’s no indication that Hawkins will dress for a game anytime soon.
Brian Allen – The final inactive will likely come down to a choice between Allen and outside linebacker Arthur Moats. However, with rookie outside linebacker T.J. Watt currently nursing a minor ankle injury, I think the Steelers will choose to dress Moats over Allen. McDonald being out Sunday sort of complicates this choice as well. Allen, however, is my final guess.