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Steelers have toughest schedule of 2015

Based on the records of 2014, the Steelers slate of games for 2015 will be the league's most difficult.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

When the list of Steelers opponents was handed down in December, many Steelers fans suspected their 2015 schedule would be one of the toughest in the league.

Now that the 2014 season has concluded, the exact level of difficulty is now known, as the Steelers will face the most difficult schedule in the league based on 2014 records, according to John Breech of CBS Sports. The Steelers will face 11 teams that had winning records in 2014, nine of which made the playoffs, while the Steelers join the Cowboys as the only team who will face both of Super Bowl 49 participants, as Seattle and New England make an appearance on each team's respective schedule.

Fortunately for the Steelers, they played their best football of 2014 against winning teams.  Pittsburgh lost only one game to a team that finished with a winning record (a Week 2 loss to Baltimore) while the remainder of their losses came against teams with losing records.  So despite a league-best .579 opponent win percentage for the 2015 season, the Steelers have proven their ability to perform in big games, which given the lackluster performance against inferior opponents, might be a good thing.

The 2014 edition of the AFC North was arguably the best division in football, which contributed to the difficulty of the schedule.  Each AFC North teams have a strength of schedule inside the top-10 as Cincinnati (No. 3), Cleveland (No. 8), and Baltimore (No. 10) all will face a difficult gauntlet of opponents in the 2015 season.  With three playoff teams coming from the AFC North last season, 2015 could prove to be a dogfight for a playoff spot.