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Steelers 2013 schedule: Fit to rebound after 8-8 season

Opponents are tough as always, but the distribution of games for the 2013 season is even.

Justin K. Aller

Starting the season off against a non-playoff team in 2012 at home is a bit different than the last few years.

The Steelers finished 9-7, missing the playoffs in 2009, so they got to open the 2010 season at home, against the playoff-qualified Atlanta Falcons. In 2011, their reward for going to the Super Bowl the previous year was opening the season at the angry Baltimore Ravens, who proceeded to put a whipping of epic proportions on Pittsburgh.

Then, after finishing 12-4 that season, they got to travel to Denver in 2012 for Peyton Manning's first game back for a Sunday Night primetime game against the Broncos.

Starting against Tennessee isn't too shabby, all things considered. At least that's the way it looks now.

And that's the thing with the schedule release; arguably the most anti-climactic moment in the NFL calendar. None of it matters now, and we probably won't get a good sense of how much it mattered until after the season.

We knew about the London game against an underrated Vikings team. Having a bye in Week 5 isn't ideal, but getting a bye before traveling to take on a beatable Jets team in Week 6 isn't too bad.

The stretch of games from Week 8 to Week 15 where they play two on the road followed by two at home for three sets of two games isn't terrible, and the even split of primetime games between home and away isn't too bad either. Thanksgiving Night at Baltimore will be a tough game, and more reason to not go to work Friday.

Some might take issue with having to play at Cleveland before a short week to travel to take on Baltimore in game to evoke memories of coin toss fiascos from the past, but Cleveland is only half of a road trip considering the distance.

All told, tough to find any real issues with it.

Sunday Sept. 8 Week 1 vs. Titans
Monday Sept. 16 Week 2 at Bengals
Sunday (night) Sept. 22 Week 3 vs. Bears
Sunday Sept. 29 Week 4 At Vikings (London)
Sunday Oct. 6 Week 5 BYE
Sunday Oct. 13 Week 6 at Jets
Sunday Oct. 20 Week 7 vs. Ravens
Sunday Oct. 27 Week 8 at Raiders
Sunday Nov. 3 Week 9 at Patriots
Sunday Nov. 10 Week 10 vs. Bills
Sunday Nov. 17 Week 11 vs. Lions
Sunday Nov. 24 Week 12 at Browns
Thursday Nov. 28 Week 13 at Ravens
Sunday Dec. 8 Week 14 vs. Dolphins
Sunday (night) Dec. 15 Week 15 vs. Bengals
Sunday Dec. 22 Week 16 at Packers
Sunday Dec. 29 Week 17 vs. Browns