Finally, the NFL schedule is finally coming out and there are only a few things that we know for sure about the Pittsburgh Steelers 2021 slate of games. We know that the Steelers are going to have the toughest schedule in the National Football League, we know that the black and gold won’t be playing on Thursday Night against Tampa to start the season and we know that there’s going to be many a game in prime time again. We also know that the contributors at BTSC enjoy competition and bragging rights as well. With that, co-editor Dave Schofield and podcast producer Bryan Anthony Davis will square off while predicting when the Steelers play who. With no expectations of getting a single game right, let’s take this for a spin.
Week 1 (September 9 - 13)
BAD: Cleveland 11-5 (Sunday Night Football)
This season breaks the streak with the Steelers starting the season at home for the first time since 2014 against the Browns. But the rivalry is a hole lot more intense now and is deserving of being in front of a national audience.
Dave: at Cleveland Browns 11-5 (Sunday Night Football)
I have to admit I heard this somewhere else and thought it would be a good Sunday Night Football match up to start the season. It probably was Bryan who said it. The only difference we have is where they are playing. I have a Steelers opening on the road yet again.
Week 2 (September 16 - 20)
BAD: at Buffalo 13-3 (Monday Night)
The battle of the Edmunds brothers has been one-sided and on Sunday Night Football the past two seasons. Here we go again, but a day later.
Dave: Las Vegas Raiders 8-8
With the Steelers opening on the road so often, no way they do it for the first two weeks. Instead they get a nice match up with Las Vegas as their home opener.
Week 3 (September 23 - 27)
BAD: at Minnesota Vikings 7-9
1,000 lakes, Prince, Mary Tyler Moore. Target, The Mighty Ducks. these are all things that I associate with Minnesota. But not championship football. The Steelers haven’t played in Minnesota since 2005. The 2013 game was in London.
Dave: Chicago Bears 8-8
The Steelers have an extra home game in 2021, so they’re going to have to play a few back-to-back. Chicago visits Heinz Field and allows the Steelers to go up against two .500 teams in a row to start their home schedule.
Week 4 (September 30 - October 4)
BAD: Baltimore 11-5
This continues to be a great rivalry matchup. The Steelers get the birds of rat early on at home.
Dave: at Minnesota Vikings 7-9
I like this match up early in the season as well, but one week later than Bryan had it.
Week 5 (October 7 - 11)
BAD: Detroit 5-11
One of the games that the Steelers should be favored in. The Steelers need to win these type of home games to stay in the equation.
Dave: at Baltimore Ravens 11-5
I like an early matchup on the road in Baltimore to test this team before things get too comfortable.
Week 6 (October 14 - 18)
BAD: at Los Angeles Chargers 7-9
The Steelers struggle playing on the West Coast, but they won here with Duck in 2019. The Chargers are much better now.
Dave: Detroit Lions 5-11
After a physical matchup in Baltimore, the Steelers get to come home for their easiest NFC match up in regards to 2020 records.
Week 7 (October 21 - 25)
BAD: Cincinnati 4-11-1
No longer a gimme game. But the start of back-to-back games that they would be best served to take advantage of.
Dave: Tennessee Titans 11-5 (Thursday Night 10/21)
After playing at home the week before, the Steelers get to host the Titans on a short week. Let’s make it as inconvenient for them in 2021 after screwing up the Steelers schedule the previous year.
Week 8 (October 28 - November 1)
BAD: Chicago Bears 8-8
Will the Steelers have a “Fields” day against the rookie quarterback, Justin? The good news is that this game is not in the Windy City. They’ve won there once in team history.
Dave: at Buffalo Bills 13-3 (Sunday Night Football)
After some extended time from their Thursday game, the Steelers go back under the lights in Buffalo for a Sunday night matchup on Halloween.
Week 9 (November 4- 8)
BAD: Denver Broncos 5-11
The Broncos were a good team that suffered bad breaks. Denver visits Heinz for the second consecutive season.
Dave: Cincinnati Bengals 4-11-1
With 18 weeks in the season, Week 9 is the halfway point. The Steelers finish up their first round of AFC North matchups before heading into the second half of the season.
Week 10 (November 11 - 15)
After last year’s bye-week debacles for the Steelers, the hope is that the NFL will make it right with a late break.
Dave: at Kansas City Chiefs 14-2 (Monday Night Football)
It’s the representative from the AFC in the last two Super Bowls versus one of the NFL‘s most historic franchises. This game was made for Monday Night Football.
Week 11 (November 18 - 22)
BAD: at Kansas City 14-2
The Steelers haven’t tangled with the Chiefs since Patty Mahomes dropped six touchdowns on them in Week 2 of 2018. This is most likely a 4:25 game fitting of a national audience.
After getting forced into a super-early bye in 2020, the NFL does right by the Steelers and only makes them have to play seventh straight regular-season games to finish the year.
Week 12 (November 25 - 29)
BAD: at Cleveland 11-5 (Thanksgiving Night)
The Steelers were stripped of the Turkey Day game in 2020 due to Covid. In the NFL’s mind, they probably think that they are doing the Steelers and their fans a favor here. But Baker and the Browns in Cleveland on Thanksgiving is more nauseating than appetizing.
Dave: Seattle Seahawks 12-4
This leaves a good matchup for the NFL after their three Thursday games. Can’t put the Steelers on two different holidays (more on this to come).
Week 13 (December 2 - December 6)
BAD: Las Vegas Raiders 8-8
The Raiders at home is always interesting. The schedule will get tough down the stretch. This could be a get-right situation,
Dave: Denver Broncos 5-11
A home game against the AFC West in early December becomes a bit of a quiet spot in the Steelers schedule.
Week 14 (December 9 - 13)
BAD: Seattle 12-4 (Sunday Night Football)
The schedule gets nasty with the “extra game”. This is a prime time affair at home.
Dave: at Green Bay Packers 13-3 (Monday Night Football)
Things get ramped right back up as the Steelers go to the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field for their final primetime matchup of the season.
Week 15 (December 16 - 20)
BAD: at Baltimore 11-5 (Monday Night Football)
In what could be a key road battle for the division, the Steelers travel to Charm City on MNF.
Dave: Cleveland Browns 11-5
Hosting the Browns kicks off three of the Steelers last four games being against the AFC North.
Week 16 (December 23 - 27)
BAD: at Green Bay 13-3
Why can I see this matchup being played on Christmas Day? It’s possible. But will Aaron Rodgers grinch this one out?
Dave: Baltimore Ravens 11-5 (Saturday 12/25 at 4:25PM)
I couldn’t help myself. After getting screwed out of the Thanksgiving matchup we should have had in 2020, the Steelers gets to relive a late afternoon home game against the Ravens on Christmas Day five years after their legendary matchup.
Week 17 (December 30 - January 3 )
BAD: Tennessee 11-5
This could be a big matchup for seeding’s sake late in the season.
Dave: at Los Angeles Chargers 7-9
With an extra day off from playing on Saturday the week before, the Steelers make the long trip to the West Coast to take on the Chargers. Los Angeles? San Diego? Does it really matter?
Week 18 (January 9-10)
BAD: at Cincinnati 4-11-1
The darling rivalry in the NFL may have just shifted to Cleveland vs. Baltimore, so I would imagine that the NFL would like to highlight those two teams the last weekend of the season. Therefore the Bengals and Steelers got the AFC North consolation game.
Dave: at Cincinnati Bengals 4-11-1
And Bryan and I are on the exact same page to close out the season. If the NFL really thinks the Browns and Ravens are the teams battling for the AFC North, the Steelers likely face the Bengals by default. Wouldn’t it be great for them to totally screw this up and these are the two teams fighting for the division championship?