Steelers Schedule: Six Positive Takeaways


The Steelers have a schedule. All teams do but the Steelers, objectively, have a tough one. The toughest in fact according to strength of schedule. Has to be said. Steeler nation has been pointing this out, and it’s true. The Steelers are already in the toughest division in football. Now they have both Super Bowl teams to play among others. But there’s a bright side to the Steelers schedule, several actually.

1. Primetime

The Steelers have a total of 5 primetime games this year, which is the maximum number allowed in the NFL. This includes two against the Ravens, one Thursday night game in week 4 and another Sunday night in week 16. The remaining games are a week 1 matchup against the Patriots on a Thursday, a week 11 game in San Diego, and a Sunday night game against the Colts in week 13.

In 2013, the Steelers only played four primetime. Maybe we’re spoiled but I seem to remember it being difficult to find Steelers games over the last couple of years.

Yes, there is just one Monday night game, and it’s on the west coast, a coast the Steelers have not done well playing in over the past several seasons. But let’s focus on the positive here. Plus, it follows a Thursday, so we’ll have time to prepare for it.

Steelers 2015 Regular Season Schedule per

We’ll be seeing plenty of the Steelers on primetime. We’ll have two opportunities to see the Steelers play the Ravens on primetime. There’s a possibility of reliving last year’s Colts game offensive fireworks. And those offensive fireworks are one of the big reasons we have the maximum of 5 primetime games next season.

2. Start on a Thursday

Our first game against the Patriot starts on a Thursday. The reason this is a good thing is because we get an extra three days to practice for our week 2 matchup and to recover from a longer preseason.

Sure we have another Thursday night game later in the season, followed by a Monday night game, and these oddly scheduled games could very well hurt the team’s rhythm. But that’s conjecture.

Three more days to prepare for the 49ers in week two are not three less days to prepare for the Pats, the game you would rather prepare for. The Steelers final preseason game against the Panthers is on a Thursday night, so we’ll have a full week to prepare for the Pats, not to mention that final game will be mostly backups and third stringers.

3. Extra Preseason Game

The Steelers will be playing the Vikings in the Hall of Fame Game. This will take place on August 9th at Fawcett Stadium. Sure, there could be some extra risk of injury, but that’s likely a small risk considering how lightly first team players are used. And like I said, let’s focus on the positive. The reason this is important is threefold.

First, it’s an extra week to work out any position battles. From strong safety, to punter, to third team quarterback, there are a lot of things that need to be settled.

Second, it’s an extra week for the defense to develop. This is going to be the youngest defense we’ve had in a long time, not to mention the team’s first year with Keith Butler as defensive coordinator. The more time they have to figure things out the better.

Finally, the offense could use an extra week to practice as well. As it stands now, we’ll have the first three games without Le’Veon Bell. Though our offense is great, it couldn’t hurt to get another week to learn how to play without our key offensive player.

4. Two Easier Games in the First Three Weeks

As I mentioned, and as you’re well aware as a presumable Steelers fan, Le’Veon Bell won’t be with us for the first three games. Although the first one against the Super Bowl champion Patriots, whose roster the offseason has taken a toll on, may be tough, the next two are not.

The 49ers had a tough year last year and will be in their first year with a new coach. The next is against the Rams. They have new quarterback and other changes they’re dealing with and are also coming off a tough year. With a fairly tough schedule overall it’s good to front load our easy games due to the Bell situation.

5. Optimal Bye Week Placement

Ok, maybe this one is really looking at glass half full. But about the 2/3 point of the season is really the prime spot for a bye week. At week 11, it’s not so early that players don’t need it yet and it’s not so late that injuries may have put a dent in your record. It also precedes a tough final stretch of the season making this extra time off even more valuable. It’s an extra week to prepare for the Seahawks as well.

6. Last Game Against Cleveland

This might also be stretching the optimism here. The Steelers might have the longest road to the playoffs but if they get there it’s not a bad thing having Cleveland at the back of your schedule. I don’t like to pick on Cleveland but if you made a bet on them making the playoffs in the past couple decades you probably lost.

If that trend continues it wouldn’t be as much of a problem to sit a player for the game. A veteran who needs to stay fresh, a star you don’t want to hurt, or a player who needs to shake off a nagging injury are all valid reasons. With Cleveland as the final game it’s likely we can get ready for the playoffs and get ready for the Browns.

So there we go. That’s the upside to the Steelers schedule. What do you think about the 2015 schedule?

Next: Steelers Schedule Release: 2015 Regular Season

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