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Breaking down the 2021 schedule for the entire AFC North

Looking at key parts to the schedules of the Steelers AFC North opponents.

Baltimore Ravens v Cleveland Browns Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

The Steelers 2021 schedule has been reported, dissected, and predicted. This time, the Steelers schedule is going to be compared to their division foes. While 82% of their opponents are the same throughout the AFC North division, whether they face those teams at home or on the road, and when they have their bye weeks are all different factors which could come into play in determining the 2021 AFC North Champion.

Here are several categories to compare schedules across the AFC North. Included in the breakdown are their Week 1 matchups, bye weeks, prime time games, and games against their different opponents from the AFC South, AFC East, and NFC West. To finish things off, we’ll look at who each AFC North team will be facing the week before they take on the Steelers.


Week 1 Matchups:

Steelers: at Buffalo Bills, 1 PM
Ravens: at Las Vegas Raiders, Monday 8:15 PM
Browns: at Kansas City Chiefs, 4:25 PM
Bengals: vs Minnesota Vikings, 1 PM

Three of the four AFC North teams open up their 2021 season on the road. Despite the Bengals being the only team to host there opponent Week 1, they are still currently a three-point underdog. The only team who is currently favored to win are the Baltimore Ravens visiting the Las Vegas Raiders as they are favored by four points. Both the Steelers and Browns are currently six-point underdogs.


Bye Weeks:

Steelers: Week 7
Ravens: Week 8
Browns: Week 13
Bengals: Week 10

Yes, you read that correctly. Despite getting screwed out of having a bye week altogether in 2020, the NFL decided to give the Steelers the earliest bye in the AFC North. The Steelers will be playing 11 straight games to finish out the season while the Cleveland Browns are only playing five. Bye weeks start in Week 6 in 2021, so I guess it could be worse.


Prime Time Games:

Steelers:
Week 6 vs Seattle Seahawks, Sunday Night Football
Week 9 vs Chicago Bears, Monday Night Football
Week 11 at Los Angeles Chargers, Sunday Night Football
Week 14 at Minnesota Vikings, Thursday Night Football
Week 17 vs Cleveland Browns, Monday Night Football

Ravens:
Week 1 at Las Vegas Raiders, Monday Night Football
Week 2 vs Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday Night Football
Week 5 vs Indianapolis Colts, Monday Night Football
Week 10 at Miami Dolphins, Thursday Night Football
Week 12 vs Cleveland Browns, Sunday Night Football

Browns:
Week 7 vs Denver Broncos, Thursday Night Football
Week 12 at Baltimore Ravens, Sunday Night Football
Week 17 at Pittsburgh Steelers, Monday Night Football

Bengals:
Week 4 vs Jacksonville Jaguars, Thursday Night Football

It’s no surprise the Steelers and Ravens have the maximum number of five prime time game scheduled. Despite their improvements in 2020, the Browns only have three prime time games, with one apiece against the Ravens and Steelers. To nobody’s surprise, the Bengals only prime time matchup is the required Thursday Night Football game after not having one within the last two seasons.


Uncommon Opponents:

Steelers:
(AFC East) Week 1 at Buffalo Bills, 1 PM
(NFC West) Week 6 vs Seattle Seahawks, Sunday Night Football
(AFC South) Week 15 vs Tennessee Titans, 1 PM

Ravens:
(AFC South) Week 5 vs Indianapolis Colts, Monday Night Football
(AFC East) Week 10 at Miami Dolphins, Thursday Night Football
(NFC West) Week 17 vs Los Angeles Rams, 4:25 PM

Browns:
(AFC South) Week 2 vs Houston Texans, 1 PM
(NFC West) Week 6 vs Arizona Cardinals, 4:05 PM
(AFC East) Week 10 at New England Patriots, 1 PM

Bengals:
(AFC South) Week 4 vs Jacksonville Jaguars, Thursday Night Football
(AFC East) Week 8 at New York Jets, 1 PM
(NFC West) Week 14 vs San Francisco 49ers, 1 PM

As dictated by the schedule, all AFC North teams host two of their three games against opponents uncommon to the rest of the division.


Lead up to the Steelers Games:

Ravens:
Week 12 vs Cleveland Browns, Sunday Night Football
Week 17 vs Los Angeles Rams, 4:25 PM

Browns:
Week 7 vs Denver Broncos, Thursday Night Football
Week 16 at Green Bay Packers, Saturday 4:25 PM (Christmas)

Bengals:
Week 2 at Chicago Bears, 1 PM
Week 11 at Las Vegas Raiders, 4:05 PM

Surprisingly, it’s the Steelers matchups with the Bengals where they have the best set up as they will be on the road the week before. Both matchups with the Ravens come after they have home games, and the Browns get the Steelers on both occasions on added rest, although it isn’t there bye week.