As the NFL prepares to roll out the red carpet for the 2015 schedule release Tuesday night at 8 p.m. EST, NFL.com has gone through the potential games for the upcoming season and selected what they felt were 'must see' games for the 2015 regular season. The Pittsburgh Steelers were a part of two of those games, and shockingly none were against an AFC North opponent named the Baltimore Ravens.
The two games which were selected by NFL.com were the Steelers traveling to play the New England Patriots, and the Arizona Cardinals making the cross country trip to Heinz Field. Take a look at what NFL.com had to say about these two matchups and why they were selected as 'must see' games.
11) Pittsburgh Steelers at New England Patriots
Plenty of fans and league analysts (myself included) felt the Steelers could have given the Patriots serious trouble in last year's playoffs. Then Le'Veon Bell went down in Week 17 -- and the Steelers were one-and-done in January, bailing out against the Ravens in the Wild-Card Round.
Well, the aforementioned matchup will happen in 2015. And there's reason to believe Pittsburgh could give the defending champs trouble. Bell, of course, could be suspended for the game, depending on scheduling. That would hurt. But at least the Steelers signed a solid backup in free agency: DeAngelo Williams. And Pittsburgh's offense could be even more well-rounded this season, with Martavis Bryant entering Year 2. Lastly, with New England forced to deploy two different cornerbacks following the free agency departures of Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner, Ben Roethlisberger could have a field day at Gillette.
This has been the talking point among Steelers fans since it was rumored the team could open up the season at New England, and I wouldn't be shocked if that scenario doesn't come to fruition when the schedule is officially released. This game could have AFC Playoff implications as early as Week 1, and there is no shock it is on the list.
4) Arizona Cardinals at Pittsburgh Steelers
I freaking love this game. These are two clubs that, sans injuries, probably would've gone much further than they did in last season's playoffs. If you dig historical symmetry, then you can see the appeal of this matchup between the participants in one of the best Super Bowls ever. After all, let us not forget who Pittsburgh's offensive coordinator was for Super Bowl XLIII: you guessed it, current Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians. That contest featured Arizona's explosive offense, behind Kurt Warner and Larry Fitzgerald, pushing the ball against Dick LeBeau's famed zone-blitz defense. Today, the Steelers provide the offensive juggernaut, while the Cards are more known for their D. Curious to see if Pittsburgh receiver Antonio Brown will school Arizona cornerback Patrick Peterson at Heinz.
Talk about storylines for this matchup. Super Bowl 43 rematch. Bruce Arians' return to Heinz Field after his pseudo retirement turned to NFL Coach of the Year. I could go on with how the Cardinals are considered 'Pittsburgh West' but you get the picture. This game deserves to be on the list, but to say it is the No. 4 game seems a bit high, in my opinion.
The Steelers could have more games on the list. Games against the Ravens are always great, and the Steelers will play the Seattle Seahawks in Seattle this year as well. Not to mention a classic game against the San Francisco 49ers at Heinz Field to consider too.
The Steelers have the toughest schedule - by way of 2014 winning percentage - in the NFL, and as Mike Tomlin said in 2008 when the team had a similar fate bestowed upon their regular season schedule: "It's a 5-star matchup because we are in it."
Let the games begin.