One game on Steelers 2024 schedule could thrust Mike Tomlin onto the hot seat

Mike Tomlin isn't in danger of losing his job, but he could be placed on the hot seat if his team doesn't show up for this game in 2024.
Pittsburgh Steelers v Atlanta Falcons
Pittsburgh Steelers v Atlanta Falcons / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages

Football fans are counting down the hours to the 2024 NFL schedule release. On May 15th at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, the schedule will be revealed live on NFL Network. We will soon find out when the Pittsburgh Steelers will be playing their toughest opponents, who they will be facing in Week 1, how many primetime games they will have, and when their bye week will fall.

Fans will also dive into specific matchups. The Steelers will be playing the Dallas Cowboys for the first time since 2020, and hosting 'America's Team' for the first time since 2016. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh will have highly-anticipated matchups against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs as well as Aaron Rodgers and the Eagles.

The list of opponents is daunting for the Steelers in 2024 -- not to mention the three teams they will play twice in their own division. While all of these games will be pivotal to their chances of making the postseason, one game could instantly thrust Mike Tomlin onto the hot seat with a loss.

Steelers must show up against the Atlanta Falcons in 2024

For Tomlin's sake, the Pittsburgh Steelers must show up with a big performance against the Atlanta Falcons. While both teams look very different from a season ago, a loss in this game on the Steelers 2024 schedule would be a particularly bad look.

The Falcons have not won more than 7 games in a season in six years, and the last time they even appeared in the postseason was in 2017. While they did sign veteran quarterback Kirk Cousins, Atlanta was scrutinized for having the worst initial draft grades in the NFL this year.

On the flip side of things, Mike Tomlin signed the former head coach of the Atlanta Falcons, Arthur Smith, who spent the past three seasons as the HC and offensive play-caller. He knows his players inside and out. Pittsburgh proceeded by signing a trio of former Falcons players in free agency (Van Jefferson, MyCole Pruitt, and Scotty Miller).

Apart from this game being on the road, the Pittsburgh Steelers should hold every advantage. They have a vastly more talented roster, more star power, and a Super Bowl-winning head coach and quarterback. Even their 2024 draft class is inarguably better on paper.

Because of this, Mike Tomlin's team can't show up to this contest and get shown up. If this looks anything like the Houston Texans game last season (which resulted in a 30-6 blowout loss for the Steelers), fans and the media alike will be questioning if Tomlin is still able to get this team back to a Super Bowl when he can't take care of an NFC bottom-dweller.

A report from Zach Klein of WSB-TV states that the Steelers will be on the road to face the Falcons in Atlanta for the Week 1 season-opener. After adding Arthur Smith and a trio of former Falcons players in 2024, this is a contest that Mike Tomlin better have his team ready for if he wants to avoid the hot seat.