2014 Steelers Schedule Is Setting Up For Success

By Jeremy Hritz

It’s understood that there are two more games yet to be played in the 2013 season, and there is still a mathematical chance that the Steelers can sneak into the playoffs.  Yet more than likely, barring a miracle, the position of teams in their division standings appears to set as far as the Steelers 2014 schedule is concerned.

Baltimore, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Houston, Indianapolis, New Orleans, Tampa Bay, San Diego*
Baltimore, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Jacksonville, Tennessee, Atlanta, Carolina, New York Jets*

* Subject To Change

Outside of the AFC North divisional games, the Steelers will play the AFC South, the NFC South, and the third place teams from the AFC West and the AFC East. Considering their opponents and the traveling distance for their away contests, the 2014 schedule sets up nicely for a Steelers postseason resurrection.

So what are the highlights of this potential 2014 schedule?

So Close and Not Very Far Away

The Steelers will not have to travel to the West Coast for a game in 2014, something that has proven to be a challenge in the past. All of the Steelers away games will primarily be on the East Coast, and the greatest distance that the team will have to travel will be to Jacksonville. The close proximity of their games will prevent any significant disruptions to team practice routines and sleep schedules. Gone will be the nuisances and annoyances of traveling to Oakland and London, trips from 2013 with unwanted outcomes that won’t be forgotten any time soon.

Two Elites Come to the Burgh

The Steelers will likely face off against two elite quarterbacks next season in Drew Brees and Phillip Rivers, and thankfully, they will get their shot against these outstanding signal callers at home. While playing against Brees and Rivers is enough of a challenge, playing Brees in the dome in New Orleans and experiencing the fatigue of travel to San Diego before playing Rivers makes for a terribly formidable task.

Non-Divisional Cupcakes

While no game is a guarantee in the NFL and the Steelers haven’t exactly beaten the bad teams on their schedule, there will be several opponents next year that they should beat. With games against Houston, the worst team in the league, Tampa Bay, Jacksonville, Tennessee, and possibly even the New York Jets, if the Steelers play mistake free, they should earn five wins. Again, the Steelers will have to show next year that they can beat the teams that they are expected to beat for this truly to play into their favor.

Intriguing Matchups

The Steelers will also have what should be exciting games against the Colts with Andrew Luck, the Panthers with Cam Newton, and the Falcons with Matt Ryan. In fact, one of these three contests, in addition to the games against New Orleans and San Diego, will be the most likely candidates for one or two prime time television matchups.

2014 Opponents with Winning Records2014 Opponents with Losing Records
(as of 12-21)(as of 12-21)
New Orleans Saints, 10-4New York Jets, 6-8
Carolina Panthers, 10-4Tennessee Titans, 5-9
Cincinnati Bengals, 9-5Cleveland Browns, 4-10
Indianapolis Colts, 9-5Jacksonville Jaguars, 4-10
Baltimore Ravens, 8-6Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 4-10
San Diego Chargers, 7-7Atlanta Falcons, 4-10
Houston Texans, 2-12
Overall: 53 – 31 (.630)Overall: 29 – 69 (.296)
Combined Overall: 82 – 100 (.451)

  • Rubem Dornas

    Great prospect!

  • r4kolb

    How many of us coming into this season looked at the schedule for this year and said the same thing? Titans, Vikings, Raiders, Dolphins. I still say as long as Tomlin is coaching this team they will underachievers.

  • Kris Gusto Williams

    I’ll be @ the Atlanta and Carolina games!!

  • Jollyrob68

    They won a SuperBowl with Tomlin & went to a second with him.

  • dgh57

    One only has to look at our history of losing to weak teams to know that the strength of schedule is irrelevant. All we have to do is not play sound football for that to happen. Our luck next year Houston and Atlanta will be back to playing winning football so it would of been nice to of played them this season!

  • Rick M

    They say that if you don’t learn from history you’re bound to repeat it. I appreciate the article and the various facts, but I’m not about to suggest that it’s an easier schedule, or that it ‘sets up well’ for the Steelers. Things change way too much from year to year in the NFL, and over the last several years the Steelers have lost more games against the bottom feeders than they’ve won.

    No disrespect to Jeremy whatsoever, but to me it’s the 2014 schedule…nothing more…and I hope our team does really well against every team they play.

  • J&LSteeler

    Most successful CEOs will tell you that the secret to their success is to surround themselves with people who are smarter than him or herself. In other words, the talent around you can help cover your deficiencies. I don’t think that has happened for Tomlin. Why the continued clock management and field position and drafting miscues?

  • Elijah Stevenson

    It’s about time we got a break from Oakland

  • Elijah Stevenson

    How can u blame the coach when it’s the teams fault for not executing the plays properly

  • Elijah Stevenson

    This is one of the easiest schedule we had in a while statistically we should be like 11-4 or something because its not as tough

  • Rick M

    I don’t think there is any chance that we’ll finish 11-4.

  • Don

    How many teams say that?

  • r4kolb

    OK. I’ll dumb it down for you. Most coaches can win with great talent IE Tomlin winning the Cowhers roster/players 1st Super Bowl. As the team took on HIS/Tomlins personality also due to Tomlins lack of good in game management/decisions, this team has gone consistently backwards. Good coaches take average talent and get them to play ABOVE their talent level. They win 1 or 2 games a season by making a good game time decisions. Tomlin has non of the aforementioned skills/talents as a coach. All he has is the gift of Gab. He would make a great politician, for as Obuma is a great politician he too is an awful leader.

  • r4kolb

    See above reply to Jollyboy….

  • r4kolb

    Also who is responsible to hold the team accountable to execute those alleged plays? Who is responsible for seeing in preseason and practices that Adams should NEVER have started the season at LT? That Cam should have started ahead of Hood on the D line? That maybe you should have not had Dwyer in your doghouse and instead have seen he was the better option vs Redman. I could go on and on…. Does your weak legged kicker ask to try to attempt a 50+ yard field goal that is OBVIOUSLY out of his range only to have it fall short and now give the opposing team great field position to drive for the game winning field goal themselves? Stop, he is nothing more then a blowhard that talks a big game. I’m done trying to point out all his deficiencies to you blind Tomlin lovers. Guess we will have to wait until we go 8-8 with the weak schedule we have next year too. I’m sure that still won’t be enough for you Tomlin apologists either. We will just flounder around in mediocrity for 5 years for your an probably the Rooneys to get it right.

  • gene mann

    After the last two seasons no easy games for this team

  • Elijah Stevenson

    It’s just that they set us up to play at Oakland when was the last time Oakland had to chime to Pittsburgh ?

  • Elijah Stevenson

    I wouldn’t mind bring bill cower back but that’s unlikely going to happen

  • r4kolb

    Hope you did notice how Tomlin rather then take a knee to run 45 secs more off the clock at the end of the Pack game almost ended up costing them the win. That’s the STUPID stuff he does that proves he is a dumas.

  • r4kolb

    Your non response says it all. Thank you.

  • Don

    Good point

  • Callentown

    r4kolb, I totally agree that Tomlin tends to make errors in games with regards to time management. I hope he gets some assistance there in the future.

    Other than that, I can’t say I see your point of view. Keep in mind, Tomlin took over an 8-8 team and won a Super Bowl. Even teams that go into the season as favorites don’t tend to win it all. It’s a big deal, however it is attained. Credit earned.

    All teams go thru cycles. It’s happened to the Steelers before. The talent declines and new talent must come in to replace it. That did not happen. See: Colbert

    And while it’s ultimately his responsibility not to lose the first four games of the season, looking back, he’s sure got a lot of wins overall. He should get credit for those too.

    I don’t know if they keep stats like this because I can’t find them, but the Steelers seem to have some odd injury voodoo going on over the past 2-3 years as well. At least it feels like they are hit worse than others and the O-line just can’t stay remotely healthy. Is this the coach’s fault? I don’t know the answer to that.

    I think Mike Tomlin did an excellent job this year of keeping the team’s focus positive when we saw other teams stop trying (Houston, Atlanta, NYJ,..). They are playing better football, and still with multiple injuries.

    The true test, will be to see if he can bring them back from this. If that happens, you may feel differently. If it doesn’t, he’ll be gone.

    Here’s hoping we draft well for a second straight year!!


  • Callentown

    Hey r4kolb.. I gotta say, I was as frustrated as I’ve been in a long time with this team as the year began. So like, ya know.. I feel ya.

    Here is a look at the Steelers record with Tomlin as coach:

    (Cowher’s last season 2006 – finished 8-8, 3rd place in North)
    2007 – 10-6, 1st in North, Lost in Wild Card
    2008 – 12-4, 1st in North, Won Super Bowl
    2009 – 9 – 7, 3rd in North.
    2010 – 12-4, 1st in North, Lost in Super Bowl
    2011 – 12-4, 2nd in North, Lost in Wild Card
    2012 – 8 – 8, 3rd in North.

    Three 12 – 4 seasons and two Super Bowls out of six seasons in modern times is enough for me to give Tomlin the benefit of the doubt.

    At least for now..

  • r4kolb

    Tomlin is an average coach at best. If you have seen my other posts I give facts to back up my argument as to why I feel he must go. Listening the announcers yesterday repeatedly saying how the fact they are still in the playoff hunt was making me sick. First off he coached this team to an 0-4 start. That is on him. Don’t lose to the Titans, Vikings and guess what….you are in the playoffs now! Not needing a miracle to get in. Also if you don’t go into Oakland and have your team, ONCE AGAIN, play down to the level of competition and lose and guess what….your in the playoffs. Or how about this, beat the Dolphins, you know the Dolphins that just got shutout by that powerhouse Bills team and guess what…. your in the playoffs!!! The ONLY reason we are even in the talk for the playoffs is not because Tomlin is a great coach or even good coach, it’s because of how bad the rest of the league is. As I’ve said read some of my other posts and you can see the many many many facts I give as to why Tomlin must go. I’ll end it on this fact, He once AGAIN almost cost us the game with Pack due to his once again having NO CLUE as to how to manage the clock. Why would you not at least take a knee even once to run 45 seconds off the clock is unexceptable. 8-8 is unexceptable with a franchise QB like Ben for 2 years in a row and the weak schedule we had is unexceptable. Brady11-4 Manning 12-3 Brees 10-5 Next year with the weak schedule we once again have if we go 8-8 will that be enough?

  • r4kolb

    I’m guessing he said 11-4 because he is thinking Tomlin has another brain fart and thinks he has a bye week the first week of the season and they don’t make the flight. Then rather then counting the game as a loss Goodell takes away all the Steelers 2015 draft picks.

  • Callentown

    Answering your last question..

    It’s hard to say so far in front of next year. We may have a new D-coordinator. But I imagine next year we’d want to see progress and a continued move in the upward direction, as Tomlin’s previous Steelers records have shown.

    There are other LARGE areas of this team, not concerning Tomlin, that are in bad shape. See: salary cap and draft woes.

  • r4kolb

    Callentown? I live in Allentown.

  • Callentown

    First name is Chris. I lived in Allentown when I was young and decided to like football. Moved away afterward, but stayed a Stiller fan ever since 🙂