The Steelers season ended in heartbreak with a 23-16 loss to the Denver Broncos in the AFC Divisional Playoffs.
The Steelers started the 2015 season with what was considered the toughest schedule in the NFL. They ended with a 10-6 record and the sixth seed in the playoffs. With a win in Cincinnati in the Wild Card round the Steelers earned their first playoff victory in five years.
So now is time for reflection and also for looking ahead to next season. We know that without having won the division the schedule gets slightly easier in that respect so that’s a positive already.
The actual schedule won’t come out until sometime in April but the home and away opponents for the Steelers have already been decided.
Home opponents: Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Kansas City Chiefs
Away opponents: Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals, Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins, Indianapolis Colts
The home schedule looks to be more difficult than the away schedule with the Patriots, Jets and Chiefs coming to down aside from the regular AFC North division opponents. The Patriots will always be a tough game and the Chiefs were one of the Steelers’ 2015 losses. The Jets just barely missed the playoffs this year.
The away schedule isn’t a cake-walk but doesn’t include any west-coast trips. The farthest the Steelers will travel west next season will be to Indianapolis. Should be awkward to go to Buffalo after thanking them for their help in getting into the playoffs and then going up against them in 2016.
If you’re a Steelers fan that likes to travel I’d say the most desirable location on the away schedule has to be Miami, unless it’s early in the season. If they haven’t put the retractable roof on the stadium down there before the start of the season don’t even bother if the game is before November.
It will be like watching the game on the sun. Swamp ass for days. Not even cool.
You’d have to think that even with all the faux disgust over how the Steelers and Bengals playoff game played out the NFL is going to put them on prime time, and most likely after Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict has already finished his suspension so those figure to be intense games.
Going into the offseason you can’t help but feel positive as a Steelers fan, though. Seeing what they accomplished this year with the injuries and suspensions and envisioning what they could accomplish next season with a healthy team sure makes you wish September was right around the corner.
What games are you most interesting in going to?