Looking at the schedule

I was over scouting the Falcoholics blog, and saw a post that showed their schedule and the opponents game before the match-up.

I really liked the idea, so I stole it.  This being a Steelers blog I found it appropriate.

Opponent                         Previous Week                Comment

Atlanta                             none

@Tennessee                    Oakland                          Tennessee get two at home to start the season.

@Tampa Bay                   @Carolina                       We have to win this game.

Baltimore                         Cleveland                        If Bal is 3-0 coming here they should win the division.

(BYE)                                                                    Bye Week has never lost.  No way we pick up a win here.

Cleveland                         Atlanta                            Probably have lost three straight here, flush them down.

@Miami                          @GB                               Wicked schedule, @Buff wk 1 is the only remotely easy game, this will likely be a must win for Miami.

@NO                               Cleveland                         A nice warm-up for our 3-4 defense.

@Cincy                           Miami

NE                                  @Cleveland                      Really?  Following Cleveland around is not a good thing.

Oakland                           Bye                                 Oakland could be good this year.  We need to win this anyway.

@Buffalo                         @Cincinatti                       Another game we will need to win.

@Baltimore                    Tampa Bay                        This is my game of the year for the AFCN.

Cincy                              NO                                   NO should stomp Cincy, let's follow it up with more of the same.

NY Jets                          Miami                                No clue what team we'll be facing here, hopefully they self-destruct.

Carolina                        Arizona                               Steelers West aren't really a good warm-up for us in any way.

@Cleveland                 Baltimore                              Last two weeks get us and Balt. at home, sucks to be you Cleveland.  I mean even more than usual.


Looking at our schedule like this brings a few games to my attention.  First Miami in Week 7, they will have faced NE, NYJ, Minn, GB the last four games when we go to Miami to play them.  Three possibilities, they are hanging in their and therefore a seriously good team, they are losing and desperate for a win, and lastly they could be falling apart by our game.  I think they could be have 1 or even 0 wins and still be a tough team come week 7.  Really hard to pick that game right now.

First four games:  Our starters weren't playing well in pre-season and if it takes a game to get going we could lose a winnable game our first week.  Tennessee gets two at home to start, we'll be a big game for them, tough win here.  Gonna need to beat Tampa if we want to get to 2-2.  Baltimore faces the Jets and then our entire division first four weeks, they go 4-0 and the division is theirs, I don't see us catching them in that scenario.

Looking at this list I think Tenessee, Baltimore, NO, and NE have favorable match-ups before going against us, favorable as in putting them in a good spot to play us.  Tennessee and NE are games we will need to win, Balt and NO I don't think we win.

My prediction:  we start 2-2, beating Atlanta and Tampa, then go 9-3 from there on, losing to NO, NE and Baltimore.  11-5 probably puts us in the playoffs, but I'm not giving us any losses where we should have wins, I can see us dropping to Atlanta, Tennessee, Miami, and NYJ, with Tampa (no Ben) Oakland and Carolina being less likely but still feasible.  I should be in congress the way I'm flip-flopping all over here, but we could go as high as 13-3 or as low as 6-10 before I'd really be surprised. 

My keys to a playoff season are: 1. starting strong and winning our first two.  2. Sanders bringing a third threat to the passing game. 3. rookies stepping up when their number is called. and the most important, 4. Health.  Honorable mention to the running game, we need it before Ben comes back, need it to be big.

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