Week one of the 2021 NFL season is here and already we have a matchup featuring two potential AFC favorites, the Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Buffalo Bills. The two proud franchises will square off in Buffalo on Sunday, Sept. 12, at 1 p.m. ET on CBS.
NFL regular season action got going with the traditional Thursday night opener that saw the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers bested the Dallas Cowboys 31-29, but the rest of the league gets in on the action starting Sunday, with the Steelers vs. Bills game one of only two matchups set for a 1 p.m. kickoff featuring two playoff teams from the 2020 season (the other is the Seahawks vs. Colts, airing on Fox).
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Whether you’re a fan of Buffalo or Pittsburgh, here’s what you need to know for this week one matchup, including how to watch.
Steelers vs. Bills matchup preview
Both the Steelers and Bills won their respective divisions in the 2020 season (AFC North, AFC East), but ultimately came up short in the playoffs. The 2021 season is a clean slate, though each is hoping to build upon and hopefully improve last season’s success.
Pittsburgh finished the 2020 regular season with a record of 12-4, though those four losses came in the final five weeks of the season after the team started 11-0. They then were beaten in the first round of the playoffs by their division rivals the Cleveland Browns. But as long as head coach Mike Tomlin and franchise quarterback Ben Roethlisberger are paired up, the team from the Steel City is always capable of being contenders.
The Steelers enter the season mostly healthy, though defensive end Stephon Tuitt has been placed on injured reserve. But their best defensive player, T.J. Watt, just signed a massive contract extension and he is likely to want to prove that he is worth every penny as he leads a team that finished as the third best defense in the league last year, per Pro Football Reference.
The offense, meanwhile, is just as capable as any team to put up points, with future Hall of Famer Roethlisberger passing and handing the ball off to the likes of Chase Claypool, Diontae Johnson, Eric Ebron, Juju Smith-Schuster and highly-touted rookie running back Najee Harris.
Up in Buffalo, the Bills are coming into the season with their highest expectations in years. After winning the AFC East (ending the New England Patriots long dominance) and reaching the AFC Championship game, many think the Bills are one of the top contenders in the AFC this year and have a chance to grab this first Lombardi Trophy.
Much of this confidence comes from the play of quarterback Josh Allen, who had a breakout year in 2020. Allen has a powerful arm and is a quite capable runner, making him the kind of dual-threat QB that has taken the NFL by storm. Some pundits have him pegged as a preseason favorite for MVP.
Part of Allen’s ascension last year was the arrival of Pro Bowl wide receiver Stefon Diggs, who led the league in receptions and receiving yards in 2020. If that connection continues to prove tough to stop, the Bills could once again stampede to the playoffs.
There are a couple of injuries for the Bills that could impact the game. Starting defensive lineman Star Lotulelei has already been ruled out with a calf injury, while No. 2 wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders is listed as questionable.
Even so, as of Sept. 10 the Bills are sitting as 6.5 point favorites over the Steelers.
How to watch Steelers vs. Bills in the U.S.
The game between the Steelers and Bills will be broadcast on CBS at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday, Sept. 12. According to the site 506sports.com, a huge swath of the country will be able to tune into the game via their local CBS station. This means that if you have essentially any traditional cable or satellite TV provider (or a TV antenna), Steelers vs. Bills will be available for you to watch.
Similarly, live TV streaming services like Fubo TV, Hulu with Live TV, Sling TV and YouTube TV provide subscribers with their local CBS (and other major network) stations, so consumers utilizing those options in the markets getting Steelers vs. Bills can pretty much just flip on the TV and start watching.
As a CBS game, Steelers vs. Bills will also be available to stream for certain subscribers of Paramount Plus. The ViacomCBS streaming service netted NFL streaming rights as part of the new broadcast deal announced last spring and will now be providing NFL games on Paramount Plus based on market. Essentially, like a traditional broadcast, specific games will only be available to stream in the areas that the game is available on your local CBS station; so again in this case that’s nearly half the country.
If you want to sign up for Paramount Plus to watch the Steelers vs. Bills game (or whatever game is streaming in your market), you must be sure to sign up for the $9.99 plan of Paramount Plus, as the $4.99 ad-supported plan does not offer local CBS stations.
Can’t watch the game live this week? NFL Game Pass is an option that allows fans to watch the full game broadcasts (or shortened versions of just the action) on-demand after the games are finished; the international version of NFL Game Pass allows for live broadcasts. NFL Game Pass is a subscription service costing a one-time fee of $100, but lasts until July 31, 2022.
How to watch Steelers vs. Bills in the U.K.
Sky Sports is the home for the NFL in the U.K., airing live broadcasts of select NFL games on its Sky Sports NFL channel. One of those games this week is the Steelers vs. Bills, airing live at 5 p.m. BST.
How to watch Steelers vs. Bills from anywhere
If none of the above options work for you, a handy way to ensure that you catch Steelers vs. Bills, or any live sporting event, is a virtual private network. A VPN is designed to route network traffic through a specific set of servers in a specific country, allowing viewers to watch content on an encrypted feed over a computer.
Michael Balderston is a D.C.-based entertainment writer and content producer for What to Watch. He previously has written for TV Technology and Awards Circuit.
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