The Pittsburgh Steelers will play the Atlanta Falcons Sunday afternoon at home and if you’re like me, you’re counting down the hours until the game begins. As usual, I will attempt to project the seven inactives for every Steelers game of the 2018 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.
Mason Rudolph – Rudolph has been on the Steelers inactive list the first four games of the 2018 regular season and the rookie third-round draft pick is expected to be on it again Sunday afternoon against the Falcons. As has been the case in the first four games, Joshua Dobbs will likely serve as the backup to starter Ben Roethlisberger against Atlanta.
Morgan Burnett – Burnett ended the week listed as doubtful on the Steelers official injury report and he failed to practice on both Thursday and Friday. The veteran safety has been dealing with a groin injury that has forced him to miss the team’s last two games in addition to some preseason and training camp time. In all likelihood, Burnett will be inactive once again on Sunday afternoon against the Falcons and that means rookie safety Terrell Edmunds is likely to start once again in his place.
Vince Williams – A hamstring injury suffered during the Steelers Sunday night home loss to the Baltimore Ravens prevented Williams from practicing all three days this past week. Those missed practices resulted in Williams being listed as doubtful for the Steelers Sunday game against the Falcons on the team’s Friday injury report. In all likelihood, Williams will be inactive Sunday against the Falcons and if indeed the case, it will snap his streak of 83 regular season games that he’s dressed for and played in.
Darrius Heyward-Bey – After suffering an ankle while attempting to block a punt in Sunday’s night loss to the Ravens, Heyward-Bey was unable to practice any this past week. The veteran wide receiver ended the week listed as doubtful on the Steelers Friday injury report, so you can now expect him to be inactive Sunday against the Falcons. With Heyward-Bey being unlikely to dress on Sunday, we could see fellow wide receiver Justin Hunter active for the Week 5 game and that would be the first time that’s happened since Week 1.
L.T. Walton – Walton has only dressed for one game so far this season and that was only because fellow Steelers defensive lineman Tyson Alualu missed a contest with a shoulder injury. Walton probably came close to losing his roster spot this past week as well as the Steelers reportedly unsuccessfully attempted to claim defensive lineman Jordan Phillips off waivers from the Miami Dolphins. In short, expect Walton to be one of the Steelers seven inactive players on Sunday against the Falcons.
Zach Banner – The Steelers entire offensive line is seemingly back healthy again as of last weekend. In short, Banner, can probably expect to be inactive for the fourth time this season Sunday against the Falcons.
Matt Feiler – It will be interesting to see what direction the Steelers go in with their final inactive on Sunday. The team lost veteran safety and special teamer Nat Berhe for the season to a pectoral injury in Week 5 and signed cornerback Brian Allen off their practice squad to replace him on the 53-man roster. Allen will dress against the Falcons to help on special teams and especially with Heyward-Bey likely to be inactive as well. The loss of Berhe combined with Burnett likely being sidelined again could and should result in rookie safety Marcus Allen being active for the first time this season. If that happens, the Steelers will need to choose between Feiler and Hunter as their final inactive player. With the offensive line now back healthy, I expect Feiler to be the odd man out and for Hunter to dress with Heyward-Bey likely to be sidelined.