For those who are geeking out over the 2018 NFL schedule release, hopefully you understand the only thing the league did was place dates and times next to opponents and locations, which were already known.
Since the 2017 regular season ended, every NFL team has known exactly who, and where, they would be playing in the 2018 regular season. With that said, many fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers, who are playing a first place schedule after winning the AFC North last year, saw their favorite team going against the likes of the Patriots, Saints, Falcons, Panthers and Chiefs seeing a proverbial murderer’s row for their favorite team.
However, according to CBSSports, the actual strength of schedule, based on 2017 W-L record and winning percentages, doesn’t match up with how the fans perceive the difficulty of the upcoming schedule.
In fact, the Steelers’ are tied for 25th in the NFL regarding strength of schedule. Their 2018 opponents sported a 122-134 Win/Loss record and a .477 winning percentage in 2017. It doesn’t help the Steelers are in the same division as the 0-16 Cleveland Browns, but it does give a very general view as to the difficulty, or lack thereof, of their upcoming schedule.
It should be noted how this is solely based on 2017 results. For instance, no one in their right minds would ever predict the Browns will go winless back-to-back years, and as was witnessed last year, there are always injuries which derail a team’s hope and plans for the year.
Last year the thought of playing Andrew Luck, Aaron Rodgers and Deshaun Watson looked to be a dreadful stretch, but it turned into Jacoby Brissett, Brett Hundley and whichever warm body the Texans threw out there when Watson was lost for the year with a knee injury.
Things change every year, but if we are basing the strength of the Steelers’ upcoming schedule solely on last year’s results — it just isn’t that difficult. Things change, teams improve and injuries occur to every team, so, as usual, let’s see how things play out before declaring just how good, or bad, the Steelers 2018 slate of games will be.