Bills vs. Steelers: Key matchups to watch in Wild-Card round

The Buffalo Bills will host the Pittsburgh Steelers in their upcoming Wild-Card matchup at Highmark Stadium.

The two teams have been rigorously preparing for the contest throughout the past week. Buffalo (11-6) and Pittsburgh (10-7) will think they know their upcoming opponent, inside and out, after all the practicing and studying they have put in.

Because of that, despite all the off-field talking, speculation and discussion, it will still be the games, within the game, that will make all the difference when it comes to the final outcome of this upcoming weekend.

With that, here are three key matchups to watch during Sunday’s Bills-Steelers contest:

WR Khalil Shakir vs. CB Chandon Sullivan

Credit: Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

The Bills will be without starting receiver Gabe Davis (knee). It’s likely that Shakir doesn’t move into Davis’ position. Rather, he’ll stay in the slot and have the task of taking on Sullivan… and that’s a battle he could win.

Pro Football Focus ranks Sullivan as just the 79th best cornerback in the NFL this season. Shakir has heated up as of late and could continue his momentum in the postseason.

OL Dion Dawkins vs. ED Alex Highsmith

(AP Photo/John McCoy)
(AP Photo/John McCoy)

There’s a chance Highsmith is moved around the defensive front and even takes on Bills right tackle Spencer Brown since TJ Watt (knee) will not play in Buffalo.

But on paper, it’s Dawkins vs. Highsmith. Two heavyweights (pun intended) going head-to-head. While Watt is the featured Steelers pass rusher, Highsmith is excellent too.

LB Terrel Bernard vs. RB Najee Harris

Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

This isn’t exactly a head-to-head matchup. Bernard moreso represents the entire Bills run defense. But the experience he’s gathered throughout the 2023 season needs to be on display. Bad weather ahead likely means Harris will be running the ball a lot in Buffalo. Stop him.

Story originally appeared on Bills Wire