Dec 30, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) throws a pass against the Cleveland Browns during the first half of the game at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports
The Pittsburgh Steelers were primed to compete for the AFC North division title and make a deep playoff run in 2012, and then they fell apart. Instead of sneaking in as a wild card, the Steelers dropped three of their last four games to end the season at 8-8. That’s unacceptable in Steeler Nation, and Steelers fans can bet quarterback Ben Roethlisberger feels the same way. Considering where they stood a year ago despite a shaky offensive line and a non-existent rushing attack, there’s hope for the Steelers to bounce back.
Rookie running back Le’Veon Bell potentially corrects the issues in the ground game, while an aging defense added (and subtracted) in the right areas to hopefully get back to their elite ways.
- (10/20) vs. Baltimore Ravens | Avg: $305 | Get-in: $113
The Steelers are a loved, storied franchise. They’ve brought home six Super Bowl titles and they plan on bringing home more. Needless to say, fans of the yellow and black are arguably getting a bit of a discount already with a season home average of $263 per ticket. With this battle against the defending champs coming in at just 16% more than their home average, that value is magnified. It’s an early season battle with little playoff weight, but almost every Steelers/Ravens clash goes down to the wire, so this one should easily be worth the ticket price.
- (12/15) vs. Cincinnati Bengals | Avg: $243 | Get-in: $76
The Bengals come to town in mid-December with upset on the brain, but Pittsburgh usually holds steady at home, so Steelers fans can likely bank on a win here. This one is actually 8% cheaper than Pittsburgh’s average home game, too, so fans also are getting a deal.
- (12/29) vs. Cleveland Browns | Avg: $216 | Get-in: $81
The Steelers cap the 2013 season off at home against the Cleveland Browns. That normally isn’t a cause for excitement, but it’s the season finale and could carry playoff implications, or even division implications. It’s a huge game either way you look at it, and is a bargain at 18% cheaper than Pittsburgh’s average home game.
- (9/16) @ Cincinnati Bengals | Avg: $159 | Get-in: $56
The Steelers enter week two on the road against the Bengals, who pose a solid threat to hand them a loss. The good part is that division games tend to be toss-ups when the teams are so evenly matched, while both team’s fans are getting a deal at just $159 on average.
- (11/24) @ Cleveland Browns | Avg: $158 | Get-in: $31
Pittsburgh dropped one of their two games to the Browns last year, but they’ll be eager to get back to sweeping Cleveland if they can in 2013. Either way this one ends up, fans are getting a great deal on the price for what could be a hard-fought divisional matchup in late November.
- (11/28) @ Baltimore Ravens | Avg: $368 | Get-in: $163
Last, but certainly not least, the Steelers travel to Baltimore to take on the defending Super Bowl champion Ravens. These two always offer up a good battle, and it should be another epic defensive clash. The offensive line will have to protect Ben Roethlisberger better than usual if the Steelers want to claim this one, however.
Ultimately, Pittsburgh’s road through the AFC North is going to be hard to predict. With the Browns potentially on the rise and the Bengals and Ravens matching Pittsburgh with stout defenses, it won’t be an easy journey. Luckily the Steelers have been facing that type of reality for years, and they have a chip on their shoulders after missing the playoffs last season.