The Pittsburgh Steelers will play their final game of the 2017 regular season at home Sunday against the Cleveland Browns with a chance to improve their record to 13-3 as well as sweep the AFC North division. 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 afternoon 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.
Antonio Brown – Brown is an easy guess again this week as he was ruled out for the Sunday game against the Browns by head coach Mike Tomlin several days ago. Brown is still rehabbing the left calf that he injured in the team’s Week 15 loss to the New England Patriots. The Steelers are two weeks away from their first playoff game and hopefully Brown will be ready to play by then. With Brown out again, fellow wide receiver Justin Hunter will dress on Sunday.
Ben Roethlisberger – All reports indicate that Roethlisberger won’t play against the Browns and that should result in him being inactive. The Steelers starting quarterback was also inactive for the team’s 2016 regular season finale against the Browns. With Roethlisberger expected to be inactive, it should result in rookie quarterback Joshua Dobbs dressing for the first time this season. Dobbs will likely backup Sunday starter Landry Jones.
Le’Veon Bell – Like Roethlisberger, Bell is expected to be inactive on Sunday. The Steelers running back has touched the football 406 times this season and leads all NFL running backs in offensive snaps played this season. With Bell likely to be inactive on Sunday it should result in running backs Stevan Ridley and Fitzgerald Toussaint both getting extensive playing time against the Browns.
Maurkice Pouncey – While his hip injury isn’t a big concern, Pouncey still ended the week listed as questionable after only practicing fully on Friday. Like last year’s regular season finale against the Browns, Pouncey will more than likely be one of the Steelers seven inactive players on Sunday. If that winds up being the case, B.J. Finney should get the start at center in his place.
Cameron Heyward – There is no reason to play Heyward against the Browns. The Steelers took it easy on him during practice this past week and that’s a sign he’ll be inactive on Sunday. Additionally, Steelers defensive tackle Daniel McCullers has already announced that he’ll dress against the Browns as the team’s fifth defensive lineman.
David DeCastro – The first five players on this list are fairly easy to predict, but the last two aren’t. Personally, I would make DeCastro inactive on Sunday along with Pouncey and especially if guard Ramon Foster is ready to return from his concussion. I would give Matt Feiler the start at right guard in his place. Foster, however, could just as easily be one of the seven inactives and it will be interesting to see which way Tomlin goes here. Expect Feiler and tackle Jerald Hawkins to both dress.
Joe Haden – This last spot almost has to go to a defensive back. Being as I have no clue as to which way Tomlin will go here, I will go with who I would choose for this last spot and that’s Haden. He returned from his fractured fibula last week and played well. As a result of that, I would preserve Haden this week and let rookie Cameron Sutton start in his place. If Haden’s not the choice, perhaps Tomlin will give safety Mike Mitchell Sunday off. regardless, I expect cornerback Brian Allen and safety J.J. Wilcox to both dress against the Browns.