Observations On The Steelers’ 2014 Schedule

The NFL is continually stretching out its offseason, despite the new cycle already being 365 days a year, by turning casual news and dates into significant events.

From extending the draft to three days, to turning the opening of the free agency period into a circus, to, most absurdly, making the schedule release a spectacle, complete with a television special, the league knows it has the power to do so because people will still pay attention.

So the schedule is released, and we now know when the Pittsburgh Steelers will play each game. That still doesn’t tell us much, and making predictions of success or failure based on how the schedule looks in April is absurd, though that doesn’t stop anybody from doing it.

Still, we can examine what the schedule looks like to make reasonable observations.

For example, the Steelers are slated for the maximum five primetime games despite coming off back-to-back non-winning seasons and not having been in the playoffs since 2011, where they were one-and-done in the wildcard round after losing the division.

Even last season, the Steelers only had four primetime games, which is rare for one of the league’s flagship teams. In fact, the Steelers have been selected to participate in the inaugural Thursday night game on CBS, in Week Two against the Baltimore Ravens.

Despite also missing the playoffs last season, both of the games between the two teams are slotted for primetime in 2014, though the ‘Tomlingate’ incident might perhaps have something to do with networks’ interest in airing those contests.

It’s worth noting that the league is instituting the right to begin flexing games far earlier than in the past, as early as Week Five this season, and three of the Steelers’ five primetime games come after that point.

Two of those games are on Monday night, however, and are thus not subject to being flexed out, but the second Ravens game could eventually face a starting time change depending on how the season develops.

While they have the earliest possible Thursday night game, however, they also have the latest possible Bye Week this year, which will take place in Week 12. Whether that’s good or bad depends on how the season goes, other than the trite observation that it’ll be a while before they can rest, but that they’ll have more rest for the home stretch.

On a positive note, the Steelers won’t have to travel further west than Tennessee in 2014. They face the NFC South and the AFC South this season, and their AFC West opponent, the Kansas City Chiefs, travels to Pittsburgh.

Both of the games between the Steelers and the Cincinnati Bengals take place in December this season, including the season finale at home.

The Bengals have been the best team in the division over the course of the past three seasons, so if the Steelers are in the hunt this year, then December figures to be even more crucial than normal, with two contests against the top dog to close out the year.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.

  • steeltown

    Man, so we went from the earliest bye week in ’13 to the latest bye week, I prefer a mid-late season bye week

  • still desi

    You are incorrect regarding the Houston/Tennessee monday night games. ESPN monday night games are not subject to flex scheduling, only the NBC sunday night games, so only the 2nd Baltimore game would be at risk of being flexed out none of the others.

  • The Fighting Ingies

    The 2nd Balt game has a good chance of being flexed since Manning vs Brady is out there as an option

  • Ken

    There are two things I noticed that are very good in my opinion. 1. Is we should be able to win our first game at home and get off to a good start. 2. The last two games of the season are at home. If things come down to the wire its nice to have home games at the end.

  • chris ward

    Like how the Steelers have 3 Home games in a row in October from Week 7 to Week 9.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    1) We don’t play any teams coming off their bye week. So no team has two weeks to rest up/game plan/extra prep for us. That’s good.

    2) We don’t travel to the west coast. Or to London. That’s good.

    3) Our short week (Thursday Night Game) we have to travel away. Which kind of sucks. Plus it’s against Baltimore. Which double sucks. But it’s early in the season (week two) so we shouldn’t be too fatigued yet. Which is nice.

    4) We have 4 back to back sets of away games. Which is not great. But those 2nd games send us to @ Carolina and @ Cleveland and @ Tennessee and @ Atlanta. Which is not too bad.

    5) We get the Colts, Chiefs, Saints at home. Which is great. I don’t like playing any of those games in their stadiums.

    6) The late bye is nice for a change.

    7) Kind of tough final 5 games. But at least the last two are at home.

    8) Overall I think we got a pretty fair draw. We play some tough teams but not the two best teams (Pats, Broncos). We always seem to do better in the playoffs when we’re battle tested during the regular season. And the tough stretch run should get us ready for playoff level football. Barring catastrophic injuries I think 10-6 is very reasonable.

  • joed32

    Doesn’t the other network have an opportunity to take at least one game off the board as far as flexing goes?

  • srdan

    As long as its not early, I am just getting into the groove of my fall sundays by week 5.

  • RedCarpetDefense

    Oh how it hurts to read that the Bengals are the best team in the division followed up with being the top dog.
    Hope this team takes that step to set things in their rightful place by reclaiming the division once again.