The Pittsburgh Steelers started the season 1-0 over the Buffalo Bills in Week 1. But, continuing to win these early season games can push the Steelers into a playoff spot later on in the year. There was never any doubt that the Pittsburgh Steelers had the toughest schedule in football this year based on 2020 results, and the way it is structured the team will have its biggest challenges late in the 2021 season. Not only do the Pittsburgh Steelers have to run through most of their AFC North matchups in the back half of the season, but the Steelers will be road warriors when the weather turns cold.
The Steelers next three opponents include the facing the Las Vegas Raiders and the Cincinnati Bengals at home, before traveling to a Green Bay to face a dysfunctional Packers team that looked completely lost in Week 1. From there they take on the Seahawks and Broncos at home before going on a Bye Week followed by the team finally getting their revenge matchup with the Cleveland Browns in Week 8. The way the first half of the season is set up the Steelers can, and should, hold a record somewhere between 5-2 and 7-0. While the latter is an ambitious number to achieve, getting to that mark should give the Steelers enough breathing room to cake walk into the playoffs and zero in on another AFC North crown.
While it is easy to overreact to the state of the NFL after just one game, looking at the Steelers schedule today rather than in when it was first released feels a lot less daunting. The NFC North and the Tennessee Titans looked abysmal, the Ravens and Raiders have run into injury issues, the Browns and Bengals both look beatable, while the rest of the AFC West teams and Seattle Seahawks still look very good. All of the sudden the Steelers really only have a handful of games where they shouldn't be the favorite. Those games, however, all fall in the back half of the season.
Don't be surprised if the Steelers drop a couple games late in the year again, but winning those ‘five star matchups’ are what make legendary teams. If the Pittsburgh Steelers are going to become champions, they will have to win their fair share of these type of games. Starting the year off with a road victory over the Bills put this team well on their way to doing just that. But one upset victory in the first week of the season isn't enough. The Steelers need to continue to stack wins, and doing it early in the year —on paper— will be easier to accomplish than late in the season.
But what do you think? What will be the Steelers record when they take on the Browns in Week 8? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.