The Pittsburgh Steelers can only be heading into the 2020 season with Super Bowl aspirations. The team is coming off an 8-8 season that saw a Week 2 injury to superstar quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. As a result, the Steelers played the majority of the season with sub-par quarterback play. Both Mason Rudolph and Devlin “Duck” Hodges had big shoes to fill but unfortunately were not up to the task. Fortunately for Steelers fans, Big Ben is slated to be back for the 2020 season. With Roethlisberger back at the helm, the Steelers could be a very dangerous team heading into 2020. Based on their opponents’ win percentage from 2019, (.457 win percentage) the Steelers have the second easiest schedule in the NFL. For this article, the Pittsburgh Steelers most difficult games of 2020 will be analyzed.
Pittsburgh Steelers Most Difficult Games in 2020
1. Week 7: at Baltimore Ravens
Coming off of an electric 2019 season, the Baltimore Ravens are primed to be one of the best teams in 2020. The Ravens’ physical defense, combined with an explosive offense led by superstar quarterback Lamar Jackson, makes them a difficult task for any NFL team. The Steelers and the Ravens have had a storied rivalry over the past 20 years. Match-ups between these two teams are almost always hard-nosed, physical football games. Going into Baltimore and coming away with a win is trouble for any team, and the Ravens will almost certainly be fired up to defend their home turf against their longtime rivals.
2. Week 9: at Dallas Cowboys
Coming off of the team’s bye week, the Steelers head to Arlington to take on the Cowboys in a Week 9 matchup. Ben Roethlisberger has only won in Dallas once, during his rookie season in 2004. Over the off-season, the Cowboys have made a number of moves. The team hired the offensive-minded Mike McCarthy as their new head coach and had a tremendous draft. Assuming they can reach an agreement with young quarterback Dak Prescott, the Cowboys are primed to be one of the top teams in the league. Heading into “Jerry World” as America’s Game of the Week is no easy task, and could be a tough time for the Steelers.
3. Week 14: at Buffalo Bills
The Buffalo Bills are quietly becoming one of the best teams in the NFL. Coming off of a 10-6 season, the Bills have continued to improve their young team. Trading for former Vikings receiver Stefon Diggs gives quarterback Josh Allen a much-needed receiving threat. The Bills had one of the better teams in the NFL last year, and have only improved going into 2020. Heading into Buffalo on a Sunday night in December will be no easy task for this Steelers team. Playoff implications could be on the line as the Steelers travel to take on a young, hungry Bills squad.
4. Week 12: vs Baltimore Ravens
Nothing says “hard-nosed football” like a primetime Steelers vs Ravens game at Heinz Field. Week 12 will see the Steelers host the Ravens on Thursday Night Football, on Thanksgiving. Both teams have a storied rivalry with one another and have seen a countless number of Hall of Fame players play in these rivalry games. The likes of Ray Lewis, Troy Polamalu, Ed Reed, and Hines Ward have been key figures in this rivalry over the course of their respective careers. 2020 will see the start of a new chapter in the rivalry, as Lamar Jackson will take on Ben Roethlisberger for the first time.
Lamar Jackson vs. Big Ben Roethlisberger is set for fireworks on Thursday night, as this game could carry divisional implications. Above all, there is no doubt this will be one of more physical, hard-fought games on the Steelers schedule in 2020.
5. Week 4: at Tennessee Titans
The Tennessee Titans were one of the most surprising teams in the NFL last season. Taking over for Marcus Mariota, Ryan Tannehill became the teams starting quarterback in Week 7. Since then, the team has amassed a 9-3 record, losing to the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game. The Titans enter 2020 with one of the most well-rounded teams in the league. The identity of the team lies in an outstanding run game led by hulking running back Derrick Henry. Combined with the team’s solid defense, the Titans are poised to be a tough team to beat in 2020.
No NFL team will enjoy seeing the Titans on their schedule, as their physical brand of football makes for a difficult game for any team. The Steelers will have to rely on their defensive front seven led by Cam Heyward and T.J. Watt if they want to take the Titans down.
6. Week 16: vs. Indianapolis Colts
The shocking retirement of Pro Bowl quarterback Andrew Luck took its toll on the Colts in 2019. The team was forced to rely on backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett for the majority of 2019. While Brissett stepped up and played reasonably well for the team, the Colts were still lacking at the quarterback position.
During the off-season, the team reached an agreement with veteran quarterback Phillip Rivers. Rivers will now play behind one of the leagues best offensive lines and have offensive weapons such as T.Y. Hilton, and rookie Jonathan Taylor at his disposal. Along with the team’s solid defense led by young linebacker Darius Leonard, the Colts are a dark horse contender in the AFC. Week 16 could see playoff implications on the line between the Colts and the Steelers, as the war of Rivers vs. Roethlisberger sees its next battle.
7. Week 5: vs. Philadelphia Eagles
The battle of Pennsylvania comes to town when the Steelers host the Eagles in Week 5. The Eagles are coming off a 9-7 season, where they lost to the Seattle Seahawks in the Wild Card Round. Despite the playoff appearance, 2019 still remains largely disappointing season for Eagles fans. However, on the arm of Carson Wentz, the Eagles are poised to bounce back strong in 2020.
Wentz has only played the Steelers once in his young career and put on an absolute clinic. In 2016, the Eagles defeated the Steelers by a score of 34-3, marking the last time these teams have seen each other. Wentz threw for 301 yards and two touchdowns en route to an easy Eagles victory. Granted, both teams have changed quite a bit since 2016. Regardless, the Eagles are on track to be one of the best teams in the NFC and are no easy win for any team. The Steelers will have their hands full when the Eagles come to Pittsburgh in 2020.
8. Week 6: vs. Cleveland Browns
Week 6 sees the division rivals Cleveland Browns come to town. This will be the first game that Myles Garrett and Maurkice Pouncey will be playing against each other since the infamous “helmet incident” in 2019. The rivalry between these two teams is beginning to heat up again, as the Browns head into 2020 with a star-studded lineup. Bad blood is sure to be spilled in this rivalry matchup and promises to be a physical contest. The Steelers will have to be prepared for a dog fight, as the dog pound comes to Pittsburgh in Week 6.