The NFL is about to have it’s schedule unveiling tonight in terms of dates and times. We learned who this team’s opponents were some time ago however. Regardless of the dates, this Steelers schedule in 2021 is down right brutal.
Pittsburgh faces the toughest strength of schedule in the entire league in 2021. Their opponents had a .574 winning percentage last season. They will face most of the best quarterbacks in the game like Aaron Rogers, Patrick Mahomes, and Russell Wilson. If this team is to make one last Super Bowl run with Ben Roethlisberger, they will have to run through a gauntlet of playoff caliber teams during the regular season.
Baltimore, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Detroit, Las Vegas, Tennessee, Seattle, Chicago, Denver
Baltimore, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Kansas City, Green Bay, Buffalo, Los Angeles, Minnesota
Every AFC North opponent seemed to improve this off-season. The Browns solved one of their biggest weaknesses during free agency by adding safety Josh Johnson. They also had an excellent draft adding another premier corner in Greg Newsome. Cleveland did not lose anyone substantial in free agency, and promise to be a force in the AFC this season.
The Ravens lost some key players like Matt Judson and Yannick Ngakoue. Their pass rush is now going to depend heavily on whether or not first round pick Jason Oweh can produce in year one. On offense they traded tackle Orlando Brown, and replaced him with old friend Alejandro Villanueva. Despite basically treading water this off-season, Baltimore is still widely considered the favorite in the AFC North.
Cincinnati may be a year or two away, but they continue to improve. Adding Joe Burrow’s former LSU teammate Ja’Marr Chase makes their receiving core down right scary. The Bengals face the same criticism as the Steelers by not trying to improve the offensive line earlier in the draft. Time will tell if both teams made a mistake in that regard.
On the road:
Thankfully the Steelers have only one west coast trip on this year’s schedule. The bad news is they have to face the up and coming Chargers in that one game. This is a team who improved their offensive line in a big way. They signed free agents Corey Linsley and Matt Feiler, then drafted tackle Rashawn Slater 13th overall. The Chargers are committed to keeping their budding superstar quarterback Justin Herbert well protected.
Other road games outside the division include trips to Green Bay, Buffalo, Kansas City, and Minnesota. While the actual travel isn’t all that bad, the opposing quarterbacks are a nightmare. The Steelers defense will have to face Aaron Rogers, Patrick Mahomes, Justin Herbert, and Josh Allen all on the road. That’s essentially as tough as it gets especially when you throw in the divisional opponents like Joe Burrow, Baker Mayfield, and Lamar Jackson.
All those great quarterbacks, and the Steelers lost two key corners in Steven Nelson and Mike HIlton. This defense will be tested to its limits in 2021.
Home sweet home:
Just when you thought the elite quarterback run was over, the NFL added a seventeenth game this season. In that seventeenth game the league was kind enough to give the Steelers the Seattle Seahawks, and of course Russell Wilson. https://www.nfl.com/news/nfl-owners-approve-enhanced-schedule-with-17-regular-season-games-per-team
It gets a little less daunting at home with games against the Bears, Lions, Broncos, Raiders, and Titans outside the division. Pittsburgh will get to see old friend Bud Dupree when Tennessee visits Heinz Field. The Bears will have a shiny new quarterback in Justin Fields. We openly wondered what it would take the Steelers to get in position to get Fields. The answer came when Chicago traded a future first and fourth to acquire him. Justin Fields to the Steelers? It’s not as crazy as you think.
Tough as it gets:
The Steelers schedule in 2021 is no picnic. They will have to play some of the most elite quarterbacks in the entire NFL. Pittsburgh will face four division champions from 2020, as well as seven playoff teams from last season. Only two teams had a record below 7-9, those being the Bengals and Lions.
There are some positives however. The travel is kept to a minimum, which is good considering this teams shaky record on the west coast. The Steelers do not have to face Tom Brady, or the New England Patriots. That’s always a plus for this franchise considering the monumental struggles they’ve had with those two.
Unfortunately the negatives far out way the positives when it comes to the Steelers schedule in 2021. The NFL did this team no favors in it’s attempt to make one last run in the Ben Roethlisberger era. We will see tonight if it gets any worse with how the schedule falls. Hopefully there are no crazy road stretches to pile on to this already tough schedule. One thing we know for sure, if the Pittsburgh Steelers make the playoffs in 2021 they will have certainly earned it.