Ranking the 5 most important games of the Steelers 2024 schedule

The Steelers have a difficult schedule this year; Here are the five most important games they will play in 2024.
Cincinnati Bengals v Pittsburgh Steelers
Cincinnati Bengals v Pittsburgh Steelers / Joe Sargent/GettyImages

The Steelers 2024 schedule just dropped, and it's a doozy. After opening with three of their first four games on the road, Pittsburgh has a pair of challenging Sunday Night Football matchups in the first half of the season -- taking on the Dallas Cowboys in Week 5 and hosting Aaron Rodgers and the Jets in Week 7.

After the Week 9 bye, the intensity cranks up a notch. From Week 11 until the end of the 2024 season, the Steelers don't play a single team that had a losing record during the 2023 season.

There are plenty of daunting matchups in store for Pittsburgh in the upcoming season, but I have ranked the five most important matchups on the Steelers' schedule based on conference games, divisional games, and teams who could be their biggest competition for a playoff spot in 2024.

5. Steelers @ Bengals, Week 13

This is the first of Pittsburgh's two divisional games against the Cincinnati Bengals. The Steelers made mincemeat out of the Bengals in 2023 -- outscoring their rival 50-21 in their two head-to-head contests. But these whoopings came while Joe Burrow was on IR with a season-ending injury.

Even without Burrow for most of the year, the Bengals still finished 9-8 and fell just short of making the playoffs. It's a safe bet that these two teams will be fighting for a playoff spot in 2024, and the winner of this Week 13 contest will have a leg up on the competition.

4. Steelers vs. Chiefs, Week 17

There isn't much of a rivalry between the Steelers and Chiefs these days. Kansas City has owned Pittsburgh since Patrick Mahomes took over as the starting quarterback. They are 3-0 against the Steelers since 2018 -- averaging 40 points per game in the process.

The Steelers aren't going to get humiliated on this Christmas Day matchup with all eyes watching, but taking down the Chiefs would be their most impressive win of the season. However, Kansas City could run away from Pittsburgh in the AFC standings, so this doesn't crack the top three most important games for the Steelers in 2024.

3. Steelers vs. Browns, Week 14

We like to hate on the Browns, but Cleveland had an elite defense in 2023 as they cruised to a record of 11-6. This is with spotty quarterback play and an assortment of signal callers filling in.

Deshaun Watson hasn't been great when on the field in Cleveland, but it's not hard to imagine that this team will be hard to beat if he takes a step forward. The Steelers split their head-to-head contest with the Browns last year, but it's very likely the standings between these two teams could come down to the wire.

2. Steelers @ Ravens, Week 16

In second place for the most important games on the Steelers 2024 schedule is Pittsburgh's pivotal Week 16 battle with the Baltimore Ravens. John Harbaugh's team went 13-4 and won the AFC in 2023, so it's reasonable that they will be a playoff team again after the 2024 season.

This game doesn't come late enough in the year when the Ravens could choose to rest players, and both teams will no doubt be playing for seeding. Depending on how things play out in the first fifteen weeks of the season, Baltimore may have a chance to bury Pittsburgh with a win on their own turf in Week 16. Steelers fans will be hoping their season doesn't come down to the results of this game.

1. Steelers vs. Bengals, Week 18

The most important game on the Steelers' schedule this year has to be their Week 18 finale against the Cincinnati Bengals. We have seen often in recent years how much the final game of the season has meant for Pittsburgh, and the AFC is expected to be very tightly contested again in 2024.

The Bengals and Steelers could finish with similar records, and it's possible that both teams are fighting tooth and nail for entry into the tournament when the 2024 season ends. This could be the equivalent of a playoff game for these AFC North rivals in Week 18.