Redskins (0-0) vs. Steelers (0-0)
When: 7:10 p.m.
Where: FedEx Field
TV: ESPN — Sean McDonough (play-by-play), Jon Gruden (analyst), Lisa Salters (sideline reporter)
Line: Pittsburgh (-3)
Kickoff weather: 76 degrees, clear
The Redskins are trying to build something sustainable for the first time in a generation. No pressure. The last time Washington made the playoffs in back-to-back years was 1991-92. They have only reached the postseason five times since.
Pittsburgh has made the playoffs 15 times in that stretch, played in four Super Bowls and won two of them. These organizations haven’t been close. So this is a chance for Washington to get off to a good start and position it well heading into next week’s big NFC East showdown with Dallas.
Given the back end of the schedule and the two home games to begin the season, a quick start is imperative. The Redskins can’t expect to make a late push like they did last season (4-1) to swipe a division that figures to be tight.
The Steelers, meanwhile, are trying to survive an early plague of injuries and suspensions to starters and make the most of the time Roethlisberger, 34, has left. They lost in the divisional round at Denver last season by a touchdown (23-16) after a dramatic win over AFC North rival Cincinnati in the wild card game (18-16).
Redskins: Rookie WR Josh Doctson will play, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport. The Steelers can’t know what to expect. Not even the Redskins do after Doctson missed almost the entire offseason program and mush of training camp with a sore left Achilles tendon. But the first-round pick gives them size in the red zone and an intriguing replacement for Pierre Garcon or DeSean Jackson if they need a break tonight. Doctson remains questionable. Joining him are teammates Kendall Reyes (groin), Matt Jones (shoulder), Spencer Long (ankle) and – a late addition Saturday – nose tackle Kedric Golston (lower back). But all of those players participated in practices late in the week and all should be ready to go.
Steelers: Pittsburgh didn’t mess around. Already definitely out for tonight’s game is cornerback Senquez Golson (foot), fullback Roosevelt Nix (back), center/guard Cody Wallace (knee) and wide receiver Markus Wheaton (shoulder). Unfortunately, the injury list doesn’t include suspensions (running back Le’Veon Bell and wide receiver Martavis Bryant) and PUP list players (tight end Ladarius Green). That’s a lot to deal with entering a season.
Matchup to Watch
Redskins CB Josh Norman vs. Steelers WR Antonio Brown
These two will get a heavy dose of each other tonight — the game’s highest paid cornerback and one of its best receivers. Brown tied for the NFL lead with 136 catches last season. Norman’s meteoric rise over the last two seasons while playing with the Carolina Panthers has brought him a level of fame he’s never dealt with before. This isn’t Charlotte.
Follow Redskins reporter Brian McNally