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5 Key Matchups on the Steelers 2023 Schedule

A look at which games hold the highest stakes for Pittsburgh in 2023.

Syndication: The Enquirer Sam Greene/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

The 2023 NFL Schedule is out! Players and fans alike across the league are marking their calendars for what should be another epic season of professional football. For the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Black & Gold faithful, excitement reigns as the team looks to establish itself as a true contender in a packed AFC in 2023.

For me, there are five specific matchups on the Steelers’ schedule that stand out from the rest as true tests of what the organization has built in 2023. The results of these matchups will tell us a lot about our Pittsburgh Steelers and their true potential this year.

Let’s dive in!

WEEK 1 vs. San Francisco 49ers

Sunday, 1pm ET, FOX

Where else can you start except for the Steelers’ first home opener since 2014? The opponent is none other than the 2022 NFC West Champion 49ers, who made it all the way to the NFC title game before suffering an injury-riddled loss to the Eagles. The Steelers have a chance to make a statement right out of the gate against an NFC elite, and with some uncertainty surrounding the ‘9ers QB situation, taking advantage of the moment might not be too far fetched for Mike Tomlin’s squad in Week 1.

WEEK 8 vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Sunday, 1pm ET, CBS

Outside of their own divisional opponents, Jacksonville represents the first true test for the Steelers to cement their place amongst the AFC’s contenders. The Jaguars are a talented young team on both sides of the ball, and boast one of the league’s top ascending QBs in Trevor Lawrence. For Pittsburgh, the chance to prove that their own young core of playmakers is ready for the challenge in front of the home-town faithful is a big time moment in the 2023 Season.

WEEK 11 @ Cleveland Browns & WEEK 12 @ Cincinnati Bengals

Sunday, 1pm ET, CBS (both games)

Look at that: you get a bonus game! I’m grouping these two back-to-back divisional road matchups together because I see this stretch as the true litmus test of the season for Pittsburgh. Win one or both of these games, and you’re likely poised as a real threat for the AFC North crown with the final stretch run up ahead. I believe the AFC North is the league’s best division heading into 2023. The Browns are the under”dawgs” in the division, but have a tough roster on paper and should be in the playoff hunt late in the season, and we all know that the Bengals are an AFC powerhouse. This is where we find out whether our Steelers are ready for the big leagues or not.

WEEK 14 vs. New England Patriots

Thursday Night Football, 8:15pm ET, Prime

In the Steelers 4th and final Primetime matchup, the Steelers host a Patriots team that will also be looking to prove they’re more than an also-ran in the AFC. For the Steelers to truly separate themselves from the “pack” in the conference, beating teams like New England is essential. Also, it’s a home matchup before a tough final stretch where the Steelers will be on the road for 3 of their last 4 games. A must-have “W” for the Steelers.

WEEK 18 @ Baltimore Ravens


Could it get any bigger than this? If both teams have their way in 2023, the final game of the season could easily be a division deciding game. Even it’s not for an AFC North championship, I expect this Week 18 matchup to have real playoff implications for both teams. For Baltimore, 2023 is all about proving they made the right choice in signing QB Lamar Jackson to his megadeal, and for the Steelers, it’s all about making their entrance into the upper echelon of teams in the AFC. A big win to close out the season in Baltimore would surely put them on the map heading into the postseason.

With almost 4 months until the regular season kicks off, there will be plenty of time to mull over the Steelers 2023 schedule. Teams will change. Outlooks will be adjusted. But for now, the five games above stand as my key matchups for Pittsburgh in 2023.

What are your key games for the Steelers? What’s your final record prediction? Let us know in the comments below and don’t forget to check out BTSC and the Steel Curtain Podcast Network for all your Steelers schedule news and notes.