5 toughest opponents Steelers will face ahead of the 2024 NFL schedule release

With the draft completed, the Steelers shift their focus to the upcoming season with these daunting opponents that could derail their victory path.
Pittsburgh Steelers v Cincinnati Bengals
Pittsburgh Steelers v Cincinnati Bengals / Dylan Buell/GettyImages

The Steelers are anxiously awaiting the 2024 schedule release. With the draft completed, the regular season is now within striking distance. Steel City fans, let’s take a look at some of the daunting foes ahead who could be the most formidable opponents this season. 

The most obvious standout opponent is the Kansas City Chiefs. Coming off winning the Super Bowl and a relentless nature of trickery coordinated behind Head Coach Andy Reid, the Steelers could find themselves on the receiving end of an absolute clobbering. QB Patrick Mahomes, TE Travis Kelce, and RB Isiah Pacheco are a three-headed dog that the Steelers must masterfully contain.

The upside to this matchup is it will be played in Pittsburgh. The environment will surely be in favor of the Steelers, but can the team generate enough offensive power to go toe-to-toe with the Chiefs? 

The Indianapolis Colts handed the Steel team a shocking L last season, and this game will again be on the road. There is a solid chance this game could come down to the leg of Chris Boswell because another blowout does not historically track for the Steelers.

The Steelers previously faced seasoned vet Gardner Minshew; now they will face second-year QB Anthony Richardson. Michael Pittman Jr and Josh Downs are sure to carry the passing game, but I’d say the more daunting matchup will be Jonathan Taylor vs the Steelers D.

Familiar faces cause a potential wave of concern

Divisional games are always a tightly contested matchup for the Steelers, and they hold a special significance in the team’s journey.  But there is one clear opponent within the division that has a slight edge for specifically the upcoming season, the Cincinnati Bengals.

Some may be surprised that it was not the Baltimore Ravens chosen here, but a healthy Joe Burrow is the key for the Bengals and a rather stacked offense with Ja'Marr Chase, Tee Higgins and Zack Moss in Cincinnati could manifest into splitting the series. When Burrow is healthy and on a revenge tour, watch out.  Not to mention their O-line gained much improvement this offseason to protect their QB with Amarius Mims getting the Bengals draft seal of approval.

Flip to the NFC and “America’s” team comes to mind with the Dallas Cowboys balanced attack of QB Dak Prescott, WR CeeDee Lamb, and TE Jake Ferguson, and on the defensive side Trevon Diggs, DaRon Bland, and Micah Parsons.

The Cowboys continue to be an offensive juggernaut with a 5th overall ranking last season. Also, the recent signing of RB Ezekial Elliott will surely add more running back fuel to their fire. It’s also worth mentioning that their defense posted a 5th overall ranking per ESPN.

Trap games and drama go hand in hand

There is always at least one trap game the Steelers fall into, and this season it will be against the New York Jets. The Jets will have QB Aaron Rodgers back at the helm, who continues to have a multitude of weapons at his disposal with players like Garrett Wilson, Allen Lazard, Breece Hall, and newly acquired Mike Williams. However, I would be more worried about the absolutely dominant defense that could derail the Steelers in this game.

Last season, the Jets’ defense, specifically the superpowers of Sauce Gardner and Quincy Williams, ranked 5th against the pass but 19th against the run per ESPN. This game could be a potential challenge for the Steelers, and they will need to be prepared to face a strong defensive lineup.

Honorable mention goes to the Denver Broncos. There is a HUGE amount of uncertainty that follows the Broncos as Head Coach Sean Payton attempts to rebuild once again with recently drafted QB Bo Nix. Perhaps the most daunting aspect of this matchup is the unknown success of rookie QB Bo Nix and how he will utilize this offense. The Steelers do not fare well on the West Coast, specifically against the Broncos, which adds more concern as they took L’s on both of their trips to Broncos Country in recent years.

To add more drama to the mix, Steelers QB Russell Wilson is set to go up against his former head coach, Sean Payton. Steelers fans, buckle up, grab your popcorn, and be ready for an absolute showdown in this one. 

The 2024 season is approaching; here we go!