Steelers bye week will prove to be the hero this team needs or the villain in 2024

The bye week for the Pittsburgh Steelers is determined, but will it play the role of villain or hero?
Cincinnati Bengals v Pittsburgh Steelers
Cincinnati Bengals v Pittsburgh Steelers / Joe Sargent/GettyImages

The Steelers 2024 schedule release was full of headshakes, gasps and you’ve got to be kidding me moments. As for the bye week, which falls on Week 9 has sparked a flurry of discussions among the Steel City fans and football enthusiasts, who are keenly aware of how this could impact the Steelers season. 

Breaking down the schedule, it becomes apparent that the second half of the season (weeks 10-18) is a grueling uphill battle for the Steel City team. In fact, 6 of the last 9 games the Steelers play are divisional opponents. Not to mention the other 3 games are against the formidable Kansas City Chiefs, Philadelphia Eagles, and Washington Commanders.

Ideally, it would have been more beneficial for the Steelers to have a bye in between divisional games due to the intense physicality that takes place during those matchups. 

The divisional foe Baltimore Ravens bye week falls on Week 14, which could give the Steelers an upper hand.  That is a rather late-season bye, and injuries could play a role when these teams meet. 

The Double-edged Bye week sword

The heroic aspect of where the bye week lands, though, is it gives the Steelers team time to reset in the middle of the season. More often, when a bye week lands too deep into the schedule, we tend to see teams have an increase in injuries and actually limp into the bye.

On the opposite spectrum, if the bye week lands prior to at least the mid-way point of the season, we can see injuries occur towards the end of the season, which could hinder playoff availability. 

With back-to-back prime-time matchups against the New York Giants and New York Jets right before the bye, the Steelers will be looking forward to resting veteran players, resetting, and preparing for a strenuous second half of the season. 

"Steeling" W's after the Bye?

Leadership-wise with the bye week, Mike Tomlin is notorious for not blinking in the face of adversity. Historically, after the bye and under Mike Tomlin, the team has a stellar record of 12-4. Though the Commanders do not bode a daunting squad, getting a Steel victory would set the tone and track for the second half of the season. As for going into the bye week strong, the Steelers will face the New York Giants in Pittsburgh. 

As a side note in terms of another divisional opponent, the Bengals bye week falls on Week 12 and their first opponent back happens to be the Pittsburgh Steelers, in the Jungle. This is important to note because the Bengals in recent years led by Joe Burrow (2020-2023 ESPN) have come out robust and secured victories in their first game back.

The verdict on whether the Bye Week is the villain or hero this season for the Pittsburgh Steelers is up for consideration, but based on the second-half opponents, the Bye Week occurs at a rather villainous time. Steel City fans, brace yourselves; the 2024 season is coming!