Most football fans take a look at their favorite team's schedules and immediately start hashing out wins and losses, but some often forget to look in depth at the nuances of the schedule and how small aspects of the schedule can impact a team beyond simply games on a particular week.
Look at the Pittsburgh Steelers' 2015 schedule in a more in-depth way:
The Steelers have a Week 11 bye week in 2015. A bye in the second half of the week is almost always favorable for everyone involved, but too often it depends on the health of the team at a particular point in the season in terms of what week is the best week for the bye. What might be more noticeable is the fact the Steelers will be traveling to the West coast to play the Seattle Seahawks after the bye week.
Prime Time Games
The Steelers are in 5 prime time games in 2015. Two Thursday Night games (opening kickoff game vs. the New England Patriots and a Week 4 home game vs. the Baltimore Ravens), a Monday Night Football game in Week 5 at the San Diego Chargers and two Sunday Night Football games (week 13 game vs. the Indianpolis Colts at Heinz Field and a week 16 game at M&T Bank Stadium vs. the Ravens).
The two Thursday night games are unfortunate at is creates an extremely short week, but at least the team won't be traveling to Baltimore for the latter of their two Thursday games. The schedule makers did the Steelers a favor having them travel to San Diego the week after the Thursday night game vs. Baltimore where the team almost has a brief bye week following the shortened week.
Hitting the Road
The Steelers have a very even schedule in terms of home games and away games, until the last quarter of the season. The Steelers spend 4 of their last 6 games on the road, and finishing the season with back-to-back road games to the Ravens and the Cleveland Browns.
Home Sweet Home
As the schedule makers held off consecutive road games until the final two weeks of the season, the Steelers will have to take advantage of three consecutive home games leading into the bye week. After a trip to play the Kansas City Chiefs, the Steelers will host the Cincinnati Bengals, Oakland Raiders and Browns at Heinz Field before their bye week.
West Coast Living
The Steelers petitioned the NFL to have their two West coast games (at Chargers and at Seattle Seahawks) in consecutive weeks for travel purposes, and although the NFL didn't grant them their wish, they helped them in those road trips. As stated previously, the Monday Night Football game in San Diego is coming off a Thursday night game, and the trip to Seattle is coming off their Week 11 bye week. No necessarily back-to-back, but the league did them a solid in how they scheduled their West coast trips.
The NFL requires all division teams to play each other twice in a season. Here are the Steelers divisional games for the 2015 season:
Week 4 - vs. Baltimore Ravens (Thursday Night Football)
Week 8 - vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Week 10 - vs. Cleveland Browns
Week 14 - @ Cincinnati Bengals
Week 16 - @ Baltimore Ravens (Sunday Night Football)
Week 17 - @ Cleveland Browns
Notice how the Steelers first three divisional games are all at Heinz Field while the team hits the road to finish up their divisional play.
Time of Day
The Steelers have 16 games, and 9 of those 16 games are scheduled for 1:00 p.m. EST starts. Other than their 5 prime time games, the team will play at Seattle and host the Denver Broncos at 4:25 p.m. EST. Enjoy those early start times