Steelers Schedule: Will Bell’s Absence Spell L-O-S-S?


Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell could miss the first three games of the season. Will his absence hurt the team or could the schedule favor the Steelers?

Le’Veon Bell received a three-game suspension, one of the first set of punishments under the NFL’s new drug and alcohol policies.  He received 2 games for the DUI and 1 game for the marijuana charge.  Bell is appealing but many speculate he is unlikely to win. Bell is also docked his salary for a fourth game but can play.

The Steelers play three non-division opponents in those games.  Only one of those games is at Heinz field. Will this schedule, with somewhat unfamiliar opponents, benefit the Steelers?

I would love to say that it does but the running back back-up situation is not settled. The Steelers signed Deangelo Williams in part to help fill in during that time, but as good as he may be, he’s not Le’Veon Bell.

Bell built up a familiarity with Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger and with the offensive line. I can hope a veteran like Williams, who is happy to be in Pittsburgh and has a great work ethic, will be able to fill that void.

The other problem is that Antonio Brown is playing games to get a new deal.  What if this takes a Mike Wallace turn and Brown doesn’ t make it to much of training camp, if any? We all know that the Steelers don’t negotiate when you aren’t in camp.  In fact Brown is the one who benefited because Wallace didn’t show.

Is it possible that playing the Patriots in the first game, when the game plans are still being worked out and things are rough, will help the Steelers?  Sure, there’s a chance.

I think even WITH Bell, the Steelers would have a rough go of it.  Seriously, playing the Super Bowl Champs on their field in the first regular season game of the season?  Yeah. Let’s hope the Steelers get ahead early and never let them back on their feet.

Next, they will be playing the San Francisco 49ers fresh off the departure of the crazy Jim Harbaugh, with a first time head coach.

This will be at Heinz Field which should put the Steelers in the favored column, but I don’t think you can underestimate what a fresh perspective like a new head coach can bring when the old one seemed to have had issues.

The last of the potential games without Bell is at St Louis. I don’t know if you’ve been paying attention, but Jeff Fisher is quietly building something there. I think it would be a tough game with or without Bell as well. Fisher has a history of playing the Steelers during his days with Tennessee.

Either with or without Bell, the Steelers have some hard work to build a game plan for the first three games.  I think it could be easier with Bell, but you just can’t underestimate an opponent.

But, the Steelers never do that, do they?

Next: Steelers Have Tough Schedule, How Does the Rest of AFCN Look?

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