The Pittsburgh Steelers, along with the rest of the NFL, have received their slate of games for the 2020 preseason and regular season. Whether these games will go off without a hitch due to the coronavirus is up for debate, but when the schedule is released I like to dive into the details to point out some factors of the schedule which might get overlooked.
Let’s take a look into the latest 16 games for the black-and-gold:
- Only 4 prime time games...for now
The other day on our Standard is the Standard podcast I asked my co-host Lance Williams if he would take the Over or Under on the Steelers’ prime time games with the number set at 4. He took the over and I agreed, because the Steelers almost always get the maximum 5 games.
But not this year.
The Steelers only have 4 prime time games, but this could change with flex scheduling. If I were to hand pick a game to get flexed it would be the Indianapolis Colts game in Week 16 with some possible playoff ramifications on the line.
- No divisional play until Week 6
It seems the NFL goes through phases where they front load divisional games, and other when they back load them. It seems the Steelers’ current schedule is a mixture of both, but an interesting note is the Steelers don’t play any AFC North games until the Cleveland Browns come to Heinz Field in Week 6.
The Steelers have 2 divisional games in the first half of the season, and the other 4 in the second half of the season.
- Bye week sweet spot
I don’t know about you, but if anyone would ever ask me what is the best time for a bye week in the NFL, I would always say around midseason. The bye never comes at a good time, but I don’t like it when it is early in the season, and I am not a fan of the late season bye week either.
Not only is Week 8 a great time for the bye week, it is sandwiched between a game vs. the Baltimore Ravens and the Dallas Cowboys. Yeah, I like where the bye fell in 2020.
- Holiday Happenings
As someone who has to cover the Steelers in multiple facets, when they play a game on a holiday I can’t stand it. As a father of 5, and usually pretty busy, when the Steelers play on a holiday it almost always takes me away from my family.
But the NFL doesn’t care what I think, and they have the Steelers and Ravens clashing on NBC Thanksgiving night. Some love the holiday games, I am just not a fan of them.
Let’s at least hope the Steelers vs. Ravens at Heinz Field ends up better than the last Thanksgiving night game at M&T Bank Stadium when Mike Tomlin “accidentally” interfered with Jacoby Jones.
- Prime time from afar
The Steelers are a big name in the NFL, and it should come as a shock to no one when they are a hot commodity for prime time games. What is shocking is how out of their 4 prime time games, three of them are on the road.
Week 1 at NYG (MNF)
Week 12 vs. BAL (Thanksgiving)
Week 14 at BUF (SNF)
Week 15 at CIN (MNF)
Heinz Field won’t be rocking for a prime time audience much in 2020, unless Flex Scheduling moves a home game to the prime time slot. Not horrible, just odd.
- New Playoff Format
Something which hasn’t been talked about a lot is how the new 7 team playoff format will change the end of the season. With only one team jockeying for a bye, the rest of the seedings could be set prior to the regular season wrapping up. If that is the case, you have to wonder what the Week 17 at Cleveland game will mean for the Steelers. Could they have a bye and/or their seed locked up and rest big name players? Should be interesting how things play out with this new format.
What were your thoughts on the schedule? Any interesting nuggets you want to share? Let us know in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers heading into the 2020 season.