The NFL schedule is finally here, and that means the Pittsburgh Steelers schedule is out! While we’ve known the opponents for a while, it’s good to finally be able to mark our calendars. Even though the exact days and times shouldn’t be a huge factor of the season, it’s still good to check on logistics such as bye weeks and how many short weeks are in the Steelers schedule.
There are a few interesting nuggets in the schedule that play into the Steelers’ favor. So let’s dive in to the Steelers schedule for the 2022-23 season!
Season Opener – Week 1 At Cincinnati 9/11 at 1:00pm EST
Pittsburgh’s season opener is once again on the road. They haven’t opened a season at home since 2014. That is the fifth longest streak of away openers since 1970, per Alex Kozora. They’ll face the Bengals who the Steelers lost both games to last season.
50th Anniversary Immaculate Reception – Week 16 Vs Las Vegas 12/24 at 8:15pm
50 years and one day after the Immaculate Reception occurred Pittsburgh will once again face off against the Raiders in Pittsburgh. This game will also be played on Christmas Eve which is a nice treat. Get in the seasonal spirit and hope for another classic moment from the Steelers. Pittsburgh lost their only game against the Raiders last year.
Theres five primetime games in the Steelers’ schedule this year. Week 3 Thursday Night Football in Cleveland. Week 7 Sunday Night Football in Miami. Week 11 Sunday Night Football vs Cincinnati. Week 12 Monday Night Football in Indianapolis. And then Week 16 Saturday Night Football against the Raiders.
Last season the Steelers were 4-2 in the AFC North. They’d love to match that, or even best it, this year. They play the Bengals Weeks 1 (A) and 11 (H). The Baltimore Ravens Weeks 14 (H) and 17 (A). And the Browns Weeks 3 (A) and 18 (H). For the second straight season Pittsburgh faces the Ravens in the final stretch of the season. The other key timing matchup is Cleveland. While we wait on the likely Deshaun Watson suspension to be announced, who will play QB Week 3 will be an interesting question. Jacoby Brissett? Former Steeler Joshua Dobbs? Or could Baker Mayfield still be in town?
This year the Steelers’ schedule is actually pretty favorable. They only have one short week (<6 days between games) and only have back-to-back road games once. And that is even followed up with their bye week and then back-to-back home games. The bye week is Week 9 so basically the middle of the season. Their bye week even has two full weeks between games, as opposed to getting a bye but then playing on Thursday or Saturday, or playing Monday before having a bye. There is one long week in the Steelers schedule (>7 days), and they only have to go further west than Louisiana once.
Little notes like these can go a long way in keeping players fresh and healthy for the season.
Strength of Schedule
Right off the bat I don’t love strength of schedule (SOS) as a preseason measure. Reason being is it’s based on the previous year’s results. But just to get an idea of the road ahead I do look at it. Based on last year’s records the Steelers are tied for the 12th hardest schedule this season. Although I think it’s a little better than it sounds.
Pittsburgh’s SOS includes a lot of teams that were right around .500 last year. Six of their 14 opponents finished 9-8 or 8-9 in the 2021-22 season. Of the five that finished better than that three only went 10-7. So it’s not a slew of dominant teams, but a large group of teams right around Pittsburgh’s level from last year.
It’s too early to give an official record prediction. There are still free agents out there, and we need to hear about how some of these rookies are performing in training camp. What I can say though is this team should finish above .500. Between the level of talent on the roster, the holes they’ve filled thus far and this pretty favorable schedule, Pittsburgh should finish no worse than 9-8, and compete for the division crown.
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