In the 2020 NFL season, many felt the Steelers began the year 11-0 based on the fact they had one of the easiest schedules when using the previous year‘s records. In 2021, the Steelers still managed to find away and make it to the postseason despite having the NFL’s most difficult schedule based on the prior here. So how are things playing out for 2022?
Based on the 2021 records of their opponents this upcoming season, The Pittsburgh Steelers rank in a tie for 12th for the most difficult schedule. The combined record of the Steelers opponents from 2021 comes in at 148–141 with a 0.512 winning percentage. The teams which the Steelers are tied with the same winning percentage of their opponents are the Carolina Panthers and the Buffalo Bills.
The winning percentage of the Steelers opponents is down from the previous season where they were the most difficult schedule with a 0.574 winning percentage of their opponents based on the previous year. In 2020, where the Steelers were 31st in schedule difficulty only behind the Baltimore Ravens, their opponents win percentage was 0.457 the year prior.
The team with the most difficult schedule for 2022 is, appropriately enough, the Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams with their opponents winning percentage of 0.567 from 2021. Rounding out the top five goes the Arizona Cardinals, Cincinnati Bengals, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs tied for fifth. The easiest schedule in 2022 based on last year‘s records goes to the Washington Commanders and Dallas Cowboys tied for the last spot. In fact, the bottom four positions all belong to the NFC East with the Detroit Lions the next in line.
When looking at the schedule difficulty within the AFC North, it plays out much like one would expect with all four teams finishing within two games of each other. Since the disparity of records of the other teams within the division is so small, the largest factor comes down to the three games by each team in which they face a different opponent as their other divisional rivals. With the Cincinnati Bengals finishing first in the division last season, their three extra games are against all teams with 12 wins in the Tennessee Titans, Kansas City Chiefs, and Dallas Cowboys. As for the Steelers, their three different opponents among the AFC North teams are against two teams with nine wins from last season in the Indianapolis Colts and Philadelphia Eagles as well as the 10-win Las Vegas Raiders.
Based on the differing records from their opponents, the difficulty of their schedule in the AFC North goes exactly as the teams finished in the division last year. The Cincinnati Bengals (3rd) have the most difficult schedule followed by the Pittsburgh Steelers (t-12th). The Cleveland Browns are tied for the 17th most difficult schedule with the Baltimore Ravens coming in 23rd on the list.
With the Steelers finishing more in the middle of the pack when it comes to schedule difficulty this year, one area where they have the best schedule in the NFL in 2022 is the total amount of miles traveled to away games. This information was recently reported by Adam Schefter and comes courtesy of bookies.com.
With the full NFL schedule being released Thursday night, here is a look at the teams that will travel the most miles and the most time zones this season, via @billsperos.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) May 6, 2022
The Steelers will travel the fewest miles and not leave the eastern time zone all season. pic.twitter.com/MAzxijyYAC
Even with the Steelers having the extra away game in 2022 along with the rest of the AFC, the Steelers are traveling the least amount of miles as they do not leave the Eastern Time Zone. The farthest the Steelers will have to travel in 2022, by far, will be a trip to Miami. Otherwise, the next farthest trip is only about half the distance when the Steelers play the Atlanta Falcons.
While the strength of the Steelers opponents based on 2021 and the amount of miles they must travel this coming season is known, one other unknown factor for 2022 will be when each game is played. While some games are being announced at various times, the complete 2022 NFL schedule is due to be released this coming Thursday at 8 PM. After this time, there will be a much more complete picture for the task at hand for the 2022 Pittsburgh Steelers.