There's still so much to do, basking in the SB victory, breaking down personel, anticipating front office moves, not to mention the mother of all offseason projects in mock drafting. But I would like to jump over all that and look at the Steeler's upcoming schedule.
This year we have the AFC West and the NFC North. I've read that our home games (excluding the division): Ten, SD, Oak, GB, Min and our away games: Den, KC, Chi, Det, Mia. Not nearly the intimidating schedule the Steelers faced this year.
Looking over the teams many of them our in outright rebuilding mode: Det, KC, and Oak. Chi is not really rebuilding, but not ready to compete yet and I'm not sure I buy Mia's rapid turn around. Min and Ten lack QBs to win (though I've heard rumors that Min will be looking to acquire Cassel or McNabb, Ten will look to Collins to manage the game or continue to develope Vince Young), while Den, GB, and SD have championship pieces, but not the overall make up yet.
Looking at the division, I think we all expect Bal to improve. Flacco showed great poise for a rookie who came from nonpowerhouse football program, the D is as brutal as ever, and it's a hungry team. Suggs will probably be lured away by big bucks, but the D always seems to be able to reload. Cin is a difficult team to gauge. With so many weapons you can't write them off, but their season rides on Palmer, if he's healthy they might be a pesky team. Cle still seems another year or two from competing.
You should never count on sweeping the Ravens and away games are tricky even if you're playing the Browns or Bengals so I'll estimate that we go 4-2 in the division.
Among the AFCWest, we should beat Oak at home and KC away and I think we could go 1-1 against SD at home and Den away. So 3-1.
NFCNorth, depends on how tough Min or GB will be but assuming we split with them, and I think we can beat Chi and Det away, which would mean 3-1 again.
That leaves Ten at home and Mia away and let's just say that they both beat us, 0-2.
For the season we would be 10-6 and 7-5 versus the AFC. There's always a surprise or two and the Steelers could easily be a 12 win team, but I find it hard to believe, excluding serious injuries, that we'd be worse than 9 wins. Winning 10 is usually enough to get into the playoffs and from there -as Arizona just demonstrated- anything can happen. Looks like another good year for us Steeler fans.