Pittsburgh Steelers Edge Rusher T.J. Watt To Miss Wildcard Round

The Pittsburgh Steelers will have to overcome the absence of their very best player if they're going to make a Super Bowl run this year. Head coach Mike Tomlin declared three-time All-Pro edge rusher T.J. Watt out for Sunday's Wildcard matchup against the Buffalo Bills.

Watt suffered an MCL sprain in the Steelers' Week 18 17-10 win over the Baltimore Ravens. He was able to walk to the sideline and to the locker room under his own power, but he did not return to the game. He logged 2.0 sacks and eight total tackles before his exit.

Watt is perhaps the NFL's most dominant pass rusher, and his absence could very well sink the Steelers' postseason hopes. His 19.0 sacks this season were more than double any other player on the team and were enough to lead the league for the third time in four years. The Steelers are a brutal 1-9 in the 10 games Watt has missed over that period.

The Steelers are also facing a brutal matchup in the first round. Despite their 10-7 record, the Steelers finished the season with a -20 point differential, the worst of any team in the playoff field. Meanwhile, the Bills have won five straight, including games against the Kansas City Chiefs, Dallas Cowboys, and Miami Dolphins. Unsurprisingly, they enter the game as weekend-high 9.5-point favorites.

Without Watt, the Steelers are likely overmatched against the battle-tested Bills. They haven't won a playoff game since the 2016 postseason, and the Bills have advanced to at least the Divisional Round for three straight years. Barring a significant collapse from the AFC East winners, the Steelers may have to wait until next year for a chance at a deep postseason run.  

Photo Credit: © Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports