2019 Offseason Opponent Breakdown: Pittsburgh Steelers

In anticipation of the official schedule release date in mid-April, theRams.com will be taking an early look at each of the club's opponents for next season.

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Pittsburgh Steelers

The Rams will travel to Pittsburgh next season to face quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers for the first time since 2015.

The six-time world champion Steelers will take on the on-the-rise Rams after head coach Mike Tomlin's club missed the playoffs for the first time in five seasons in 2018. The matchup will feature L.A.'s veteran defense vs. 'Big Ben' and the Pittsburgh offense — highlighted by youthful playmakers in wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and running back James Conner.

Here's an early look at the Steelers:

2018

Left out of the postseason for just the fourth time since Tomlin took over in 2007, the Steelers faced a season shrouded in contract controversy and speculation in 2018 as star running back Le'Veon Bell sat out amidst contract disagreements and wide receiver Antonio Brown butted heads with Roethlisberger.

But the Steelers fielded a formidable roster nonetheless, with a breakout season from Conner and at least 1,000 yards receiving from Smith-Schuster and Brown, stringing together enough wins in the Steel City to contend for playoff spot late.

Matchup History

The Rams lead the all-time series against the Steelers 15-9-2, as the two clubs are set to meet for just the third time in nine seasons. The Steelers have won three-straight against the Rams, dating back to the 2007 season.

Defensive tackle Aaron Donald sacked Roethlisberger once in the Rams' last outing against the Steelers back in 2015. He finished the game with four total tackles — three of them for a loss.

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

Both Brown and Bell hit the road after making a name for themselves in black and yellow. The Steelers received draft picks for sending Brown to Oakland and responded by re-signing Eli Rogers and Donte Moncrief to their wide receivers room.

The club boosted their defense by signing former Rams linebacker Mark Barron as well as former Chiefs corner Steven Nelson.

Head Coach

Tomlin became just the third head coach in Pittsburgh since 1969 when he was hired in 2007. The pairing has since been largely positive, producing 12 seasons without a losing record.

The Steelers are 125-66-1 under Tomlin, have made the postseason eight times, and reached the football mountain top once, winning Super Bowl XLIII in the head coach's second season.

Head coach Sean McVay, 33, passed up Tomlin in February to become the youngest head coach in football history to roam a Super Bowl sideline.

What to Watch For

Conner vs. Donald. Two of the University of Pittsburgh's finest will go at it for the first time as professionals next season. Donald, a Pittsburgh native, will return to his hometown looking to both get after Roethlisberger and stop Conner, who took 215 caries for 972 yards and 12 touchdowns in his first Pro Bowl season in 2018.

When Conner was named a Pro Bowler last season, the young running back, who beat Hodgkin's lymphoma just as he eyed a career in the NFL, shared an encouraging text message from Donald when he was diagnosed with cancer just over three years ago.

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