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Should we really be this upset over the Steelers schedule?

Pittsburgh Steelers fans are a passionate bunch, and that’s what makes us all fans, right?

After all, fan is short for fanatic. But when it comes to certain aspects of the NFL you have to wonder if we are maybe overreacting a bit. Chalk the regular season schedule up to one of those overreacting moments. Or is the vitriol towards the NFL warranted?

Wednesday night the 2024 schedule was released, and as fans looked at several key aspects of the schedule, prime time games, bye week, and divisional games, their collective blood pressure started to rise.

“No division games until Week 11?!”

“Four straight AFC North games?!”

“A Christmas day game, on a Wednesday?! And only on Netflix?!!!”

Okay, the Netflix part fans have a reason to gripe, but for everything else related to the schedule, should we really be this upset?

The biggest factor to me is the fact these opponents and venue have been known for months now. No, we didn’t know the Steelers would be playing the Chiefs at home on Christmas Day following a game vs. the Baltimore Ravens, but we knew the team would be hosting the Chiefs at some point. Would hosting Patrick Mahomes ever be an easy task?


The same can be said about the Steelers taking a trip across the keystone state and playing the Eagles in Philadelphia. We all know how Philadelphia has been the Steelers own house of horrors for decades now, so the fact they play the Eagles in the back half of the season is somehow worse than if they played them in Week 2?

We all love to overreact, and the Steelers absolutely have a difficult schedule ahead of them. But, again, we knew this well before the schedule was officially released. When people look at the schedule on paper, there are so many factors which aren’t included. For instance, most Strength of Schedule (SOS) metrics are based on 2023 win percentage. This makes sense, but it also should be noted how teams change year after year. Injuries happen, and that completely changes the trajectory of the schedule. Using 2023 as an example, when fans saw the two Cincinnati Bengals games on the schedule, they assumed Joe Burrow would be under center. We all know that wasn’t the case. The same could be said about the New York Jets and their ridiculous number of prime time games which were without Aaron Rodgers after his ruptured Achilles tendon in Week 1.

Suddenly, stretches which you thought were a murderer’s row soften up significantly.

Speaking of stretches on the schedule, what looks tough, and easy, on paper are often the opposite. How many people last year said the Steelers needed to take advantage of the Colts, Cardinals and Patriots stretch, and would struggle down the stretch.

That stretch? 0-3.

The stretch at the end of the season, Bengals, Seahawks and Ravens, turned into a 3-0 stretch due to the Burrow injury, a big win in Seattle and a Ravens team resting players before the playoffs.

In other words, the schedule will change dramatically before these games actually arrive.

Overreaction is part of being a fan, but when it comes to the schedule let’s keep a level-head and remember the Steelers schedule which is “soft” at the beginning of the season might turn out to be a difficult stretch of games, and for unknown reasons the back half might lighten up as well.

Let’s see how it plays out…

In the meantime, be sure to stay tuned to SCN for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the rest of the 2024 offseason.


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