The Pittsburgh Steelers have the hardest schedule in football in 2021. They’ve won the Super Bowl while facing these circumstances before, so I know Mike Tomlin and company ‘do not care’. But as we sit here today we can put those opponents in order of difficulty. Sure, injuries and regression will change these standings, but for the sake of argument here are the Steelers’ opponents ranked based by talent on paper.
17. Week 10 vs. Lions — Sun 11/14
Genuinely I think the Lions are setting themselves up nicely to turn things around. However, those things won't come anywhere near to developing here this season and this will be the Steelers ‘easiest’ game of the year.
16. Week 2 vs. Raiders — Sun 09/19
For whatever reason the Steelers struggle against the Raiders as of late. However, the fact this will be the home opener combined with John Gruden’s bizarre philosophies I think the Steelers should be the victor in this game.
15. Week 5 vs. Broncos — Sun 10/10
The Broncos have put together a nice little roster for themselves, however their quarterback play keeps them far down the list of any NFL team. This is another game the Steelers should win.
14. Week 9 vs. Bears — Mon 11/08
The Bears have a lot of stock in their rookie quarterback this year. If he's ready for the work load they might just be a sleeping giant. If not, they still have a really good defense. Also, the Steelers always struggle against the Bears so this will be a tight one.
13. Week 3 vs. Bengals — Sun 09/26
The Bengals are steadily improving a lot comes down to Joe Burrow and the Bengals’ offensive line. The Steelers can't afford to struggle to the Bengals like they did late last season.
12. Week 14 at Vikings — Thu 12/09
The Vikings appear to be a team trending downward. However a short week on Thursday Night Football and anything can happen.
11. Week 12 at Bengals — Sun 11/28
The Steelers return to the scene of their worst game of the 2020 season. The Steelers embarrassed themselves the last time they played at Paul Brown stadium, and they need to be looking for revenge in this one.
10. Week 4 at Packers — Sun 10/03
Well... Let’s call this one a place holder until we learn the status of Aaron Rodgers. If he stays this will be a top-3 toughest game of the year. If not it could be one of the easiest, stay tuned.
9. Week 6 vs. Seahawks — Sun 10/17
Quietly the Seahawks might have the worst talent in the NFC West. However, they're still a pretty good team. Thankfully the Steelers get this game at home as they struggle mightily in Seattle.
8. Week 13 vs. Ravens — Sun 12/5
The Steelers will look to extend their winning steak against the Ravens in this game. Given this one will be played in Week 13 I suspect the stakes will be particularly high with direct playoff implications on the line.
7. Week 17 vs. Browns — Mon 1/3
The Steelers have to wait until Week 17 to get a home rematch against the Browns following the embarrassing Wild Card performance. This game might be huge for the standings, but it could also mean nothing for either team.
6. Week 15 vs. Titans — Sun 12/19
The Titans big three is perhaps the most dominate trio in recent memory. The Steelers will need to play a perfect defensive game to win this one.
5. Week 11 at Chargers — Sun 11/21
The Chargers are a sleeper team to win the AFC, not only that but the Steelers always struggle on the west coast. Thankfully the Steelers seem to get the job done in San Diego/Los Angeles as of late.
4. Week 18 at Ravens — Sun 1/9
This could very well be an AFC North championship game, it could also be a game where both teams are resting players. The former would make for a slugfest, while the latter would likely turn into a snooze fest.
3. Week 8 at Browns — Sun 10/31
The Steelers will be motivated for this game. All offseason the Steelers will be stewing on the playoff loss to the Browns. This group knows they have to get their win back.
2. Week 1 at Bills — Sun 9/12
The Steelers open up the year against one of the best teams in football. The timing of this is extremely fortunate for the Steelers as it will be warm and they’ll be able to catch the Bills off guard with their brand new offense. But still the Bills are loaded and matchup nicely against the Steelers.
1. Week 16 at Chiefs — Sun 12/26
Could it have been anyone else? The Chiefs were a great team before this offseason and they're even better now. This will be a huge battle for the Steelers who never got to test themselves against the Chiefs a year ago. This one could be the measuring stick to see how close the Steelers really are to competing for a Super Bowl.
But what do you think? How would you rank the Steelers matchups? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.