The Pittsburgh Steelers 2021 opponents were known for years all except three matchups. Once the season ended in 2020, the Steelers had their 16 home and away matchup’s determined. After the NFL announced the 17th game and the criteria, the Steelers also knew that they would be hosting the Seattle Seahawks season.
So why all the pomp and circumstance of the NFL schedule release?
Knowing when the Steelers are playing each of their games does make a difference with the perception of the matchup. If the Steelers are facing someone on either extended or short rest, a primetime game, or coming off a tough matchup, it all factors into the equation.
So based on where the games are now scheduled, are the matchup’s more difficult, less difficult or as to be expected when compared to knowing the teams and locations which were already predetermined? Let’s look at the Steelers 2021 schedule and decide if the game placement made any difference in the perceived difficulty of the matchup. Games which now favor the Steelers even more will have their stock up while matchups that might not have been so bad but now look worse or have their stock down. From some games, there may be no change with the stock being even.
Week 1: at Buffalo Bills 1 PM
This game is even but not for lack of movement. Going to Buffalo at 1 PM in September versus 8:20 PM in December causes the stock to rise, but having to face the Bills the very first week with a new offensive coordinator and several new pieces brings the stock back down.
Week 2: vs Las Vegas Raiders 1 PM
The Raiders can sometimes give the Steelers fits, but the fact it’s the home opener gives Steelers more of an advantage. Add in the Raiders have one less day of prep from opening on Monday night against Baltimore and both factors help the Steelers.
Week 3: vs Cincinnati Bengals 1 PM
It’s the Bengals and Heinz Field. Nothing really added or took away anything from this matchup.
Week 4: at Green Bay Packers 4:25 PM
The stock rises slightly by going to Green Bay in early October. It was more about the potential of playing on the frozen tundra of Lambeau field which isn’t necessarily ideal.
Week 5: vs Denver Broncos 1 PM
Getting the Broncos in a 1 PM game yet again helps out the Steelers. Over the last four seasons, the Broncos are only 4-14 in games with an early kickoff.
Week 6: vs Seattle Seahawks Sunday Night 8:20 PM
Playing in prime time at home generally helps to Steelers, but the Seahawks are coming off their ‘mini bye’ as they play on Thursday the previous week.
Week 7: BYE
This bye is pretty early with the Steelers having to play 11 games after their week off. After not having a bye last year, some thought the NFL might repay the Steelers by having it later in the season.
Week 8: at Cleveland Browns 1 PM
Although the stock could have been higher with the Steelers having added rest before hosting the Browns, they are coming off their ‘mini bye’ as their previous game is on Thursday Night Football.
Week 9: vs Chicago Bears Monday 8:15 PM
It’s Monday Night Football at home. That almost always helps give the Steelers an advantage.
Week 10: vs Detroit Lions 1 PM
The Lions game was going to be the Lions game no matter where it fell. The only factor involved is the Steelers are coming off a Monday night game and the Lions are coming off their bye week.
Week 11: at Los Angeles Chargers Sunday Night 8:20 PM
Traveling cross-country was going to be undesirable no matter when this game fell, but playing the Chargers in prime time on the road has worked out well for the Steelers recently as they have won three of the last four.
Week 12: at Cincinnati Bengals 1 PM
Traveling the short trip to Cincinnati usually isn’t a big deal, but since it’s coming off a prime time West Coast trip doesn’t make for the best situation.
Week 13: vs Baltimore Ravens 4:25 PM
It’s the Ravens at home. The only thing that would have made this better was coming off added rest. The Ravens are playing the Browns in prime time the previous Sunday, but I don’t know if that’s enough to affect anything.
Week 14: at Minnesota Vikings Thursday 8:15 PM
It’s the only team who didn’t make the post season in 2020 who the Steelers face during the last six weeks of the season, but it comes on the road on a short week after facing the Ravens. Yikes!
Week 15: vs Tennessee Titans 1 PM
At least the Steelers get to stay at home after their ‘mini bye’ and face a familiar opponent.
Week 16: at Kansas City Chiefs 4:25 PM
There’s not much the NFL could have done to make this matchup any better or worse for the Steelers. Still they found a way by giving the Chiefs a few extra days rest by playing on Thursday the previous week.
Week 17: vs Cleveland Browns Monday 8:15 PM
Monday Night Football in January? Why not! There hasn’t been a Monday night game in January since the 2001 season. The Browns haven’t beat the Steelers on Monday night since 1985 and have never defeated them in Pittsburgh. The day of rest from the Browns playing on Saturday the previous week shouldn’t be enough overcome this.
Week 18: at Baltimore Ravens 1 PM
Hopefully this game doesn’t mean anything for one or both of these teams. If it’s going to be the possibility of a game not meaning much, at least it’s not one of the home games. On the other hand, it could determine the AFC North.
So how does it look? Is the stock report on each game now that we know exactly when it falls fairly accurate? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.