The NFL schedule is complex, but if you know the reasoning behind it, it really is rather simple. First, let’s look at the equation to get to 16 of the 17 games on the regular season schedule:
Every year each division is paired up with both an AFC and NFC division, which represents 8 games on the schedule. Each team plays everyone in their division twice, add another 6 games. So, where do the other two games come from to round out the schedule? Depending on which place the team finishes, they play the other teams who finished with the same ranking in the other two divisions.
So, who will the Pittsburgh Steelers be playing in 2022? Well, in 2021 the AFC North was paired with the AFC West and NFC North, but in 2022 they are paired up with the AFC East and the NFC South.
Those 8 opponents will be:
But what about the other two opponents? They will play the team who finished in the same place as the Steelers in their division for both the AFC West and AFC South. The fact the Steelers could finish either 2nd or 3rd in the AFC North makes this one of the games which isn’t known yet. The Kansas City Chiefs have clinched the AFC West, but the second place team could be either the Los Angeles Chargers or Las Vegas Raiders depending who wins the game between the two teams in Week 18. The Tennessee Titans won the AFC South, so if the Steelers finish second they will be playing the Indianapolis Colts, but if they finish third they would play the Houston Texans.
When it comes to the 17th game on the schedule, in 2021 all AFC teams hosted an NFC team from a matched division, playing the team who ranked the same. So, this year it was the AFC North paired with the NFC West, with the NFC West teams all traveling to the AFC North team. This was why the Los Angeles Chargers traveled to play the Ravens in Baltimore, and why the Seattle Seahawks had a Sunday night game at Heinz Field this year.
In 2022, the AFC North is paired with the NFC East, and the AFC North will be traveling. So, with the Dallas Cowboys winning the NFC East, they will be hosting the Cincinnati Bengals in 2022. The Steelers would either travel to play the Philadelphia Eagles, if they finish second, or travel to play the Washington Football Team if the finish third.
As for a simpler breakdown of the schedule, here is who the Steelers will play both at home, and away, in 2022. The opponents will be finalized after Week 18, but the day and times for these games won’t be known until later this spring.
Indianapolis Colts or Houston Texans
Philadelphia Eagles or Washington Football Team
Again, the NFL schedule is a system, so the Steelers’ opponents for the foreseeable future are already know, including their location. However, there are those opponents which aren’t known until the season has wrapped up. Looking ahead, how the Steelers finish this 2021 season will have a pretty big impact on their 2022 schedule.
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the Baltimore Ravens in Week 18.