Steelers schedule release 2024: Which game odds were impacted the most?

Pittsburgh Steelers v Las Vegas Raiders
Pittsburgh Steelers v Las Vegas Raiders / Chris Unger/GettyImages

Well, it’s that time of the year again—the time when NFL fans receive the table-turn that is their teams’ schedule releases, and the annual occasion’s seismic impact should need little explanation, as we find ourselves circling “trap games” on the calendar each time it rolls around.

Now the term “trap game” typically gets a bad rap, and understandably so, but there are two sides to every coin, and this one is no exception. Sure, every team in the league has games that are made trickier by their placement, but they also have some made easier in that same process, helping result in all the snakier of traps for others.

It may sound confusing, but just know that through the schedule release comes news with good and bad intertwined, and due to an array of enemies on the Steelers 2024 schedule that seems rather diverse regardless of its chronology (along with me having tackled this subject matter last year), I figured why not take a look at both ends of the spectrum and establish which two games have seen the greatest shifts in odds?

But first, a quick writer’s note: Divisional games will not be considered for either of these selections, as their difficulty remains relatively constant for obvious reasons (and that’s especially the case in a bloodbath like the AFC North)—so just keep that in mind as we press on.

Most positively impacted: at Las Vegas

I know you were probably hoping to see either Dallas or Kansas City in this spot but trust me, this is still a lucky break.

For starters, let’s talk about what makes this game difficult at face value, as it’s rather straightforward: It’s a historical rivalry, on the road, and we know the Steelers can lose it, as they came within a touchdown of doing so just last September. Now for the good news or, perhaps more fittingly, the bad news for Vegas.

Along with this certainly being a big one from their perspective as well, the Raiders had just about as bad of luck with Pittsburgh’s seating in their October stretch as they possibly could've, with the team chilling right between road trips to Denver (a divisional "opp" that puts on a brutal show for its guests) and the LA Rams (a playoff power with some of the NFL’s biggest names on both the field and sideline).

Now it’s not exactly like the Steelers have zero issues with where the Raiders are, as they have to host the Cowboys first. But hey, a tough home game is still a home game, and even it has nothing on the forgiving nature of the game that comes after they take on Vegas: Yet another home game, this time against the New York Jets, who are amongst their weakest challengers.

If the Steelers could beat the Raiders between duels with the Browns and Texans in 2023, they can certainly run it back with those guys lingering around.

Most negatively impacted: at Philadelphia

This one may be a bit of a surprise, as Philadelphia is no easy road foe to begin with. But, keep in mind that these answers are selected comparatively, and when held next to several other names on Pittsburgh’s horizon, the Eagles are far from insurmountable—or at least they were.

Remember how I said that we would not consider divisional games for today’s discussion, as they are always tough to endure? Well, Philly is bookended by a home game versus the postseason-caliber Browns and a visit to Baltimore against defending MVP Lamar Jackson and the Ravens. Not ideal.

You can be a victim of the moment, shrugging off the Eagles due to their late collapse last season, but that doesn’t change the fact that they are a playoff squad with the fortunate combination of having home-field advantage and being surrounded by playoff rivals.

Meanwhile, from their perspective, this encounter is only bordered by a home game against the league-worst Carolina Panthers and a road one against the Washington Commanders (who sure, have rivalry implications, but literally nothing else).

To me, all of this doesn’t just make the game sound more difficult, but virtually unwinnable.

Of course, it’s important to remember that we won’t know anything about these games’ results until we see them, and no matter how good or bad they are, they will obviously mean little on their own.

However, that doesn’t change the fact that Pittsburgh is hoping to, at the very least, remain as a playoff power in a deep AFC landscape, so the need to identify and disarm every trap on the agenda is nonetheless stronger now more than ever—and it all starts with this pair.