2021 Pittsburgh Steelers Schedule Breakdown: Ranking Every Game By Difficulty

2021 Pittsburgh Steelers Schedule

The 2021 Pittsburgh Steelers Schedule flows between difficult games and winnable games, with very little room for making mistakes. While the first half has some of the less challenging matchups, the extra game in the 2021 season makes the back-half of the schedule particularly difficult. Without comfort room to have a poor season, the Steelers schedule may be one of the more difficult in the NFL. Regardless, plenty of the games promise to have plenty of excitement and close games.

2021 Pittsburgh Steelers Schedule Breakdown

  1. At Kansas City Chiefs, Week 16

The Kansas City Chiefs show very few signs of breaking down. Unless one believes in the fabled ‘Super Bowl Hangover Curse’, the Chiefs will be a challenge for every team on the schedule. Moreover, this game is in Kansas City; a notoriously loud stadium in a season where fans will, hopefully, be returning. Pittsburgh and Kansas City will be challengers by Week 16, putting playoff implications on this game. Regardless of how things change, if the Steelers want to make a push before the playoffs this is a must win game.

  1. At Green Bay Packers, Week 4

With Aaron Rodgers or Jordan Love at the helm, playing in Green Bay is a challenge. The Packers have talent enough to challenge the Steelers. Both teams need to make a strong statement by week 4, as a 2-2 or 3-1 record will be a big difference to the Steelers. The urgency is heightened for the Steelers who are entering a season with high demands to win as Ben Roethlisberger’s career is nearing an end.

  1. At Buffalo Bills, Week 1

Heading into the defending AFC East champion Buffalo Bills the first week of the season and winning will be a major step for the Steelers playoff hopes. The Bills passing attack will provide a chance for the Steelers to highlight a revived pass rush. While there is a focus on the Steelers defense in week one, it may be the offense to pull a victory in the end. Rookie running back Najee Harris has a chance to make an entrance to the NFL on a big stage, especially against a defense that was only average.

  1. Cleveland Browns, Week 17

The Cleveland Browns have a chance to be a juggernaut in the NFL this season. Coming off a deep playoff run, which featured a stunning victory over the Steelers. The reason the week 17 game is ahead of the week 8 game is due to the playoff implications. Both rosters will be finalising a playoff run and are likely to have some level of injuries. Week 17 could determine which of the teams ends up as a wildcard and who is the division winner.

  1. At Baltimore Ravens, Week 18

Even in years that the Ravens and Steelers are less than stelar teams, playing in Baltimore is a tough matchup. This game, coming off the week 17 Cleveland matchup, will have massive playoff implications for the Steelers. The matchup between these two teams is usually legendary. The Steelers own defense will need to play tight in a hostile environment to win in week 18.

  1. At Cleveland Browns, Week 8

The Cleveland Browns Week 8 game, in Cleveland, can arguably be moved to the number four position. However, a week 17 game with playoff implications may prove to be more important. Playing in Cleveland will be one of the more important games of the season, especially as Baker Mayfield and company attempt to dismount the perennial playoff Steelers.

  1. Seattle Seahawks, Week 6

The Seattle Seahawks off-season quarterback drama is alleviated and the offense looks to be improved. The game in Heinz Field will be another cross-conference statement game, and one that is slotted to be a Sunday Night Football match. Russell Wilson has a stunning record on the road and the importance of winning a prime-time game has always be understood for the Seahawks. While the subtle rivalry that goes back to Super Bowl XL is mostly forgotten between teams, fans have not forgotten. The Seahawks and Steelers always promise a delightful matchup.

  1. At Los Angeles Chargers, Week 11

The Los Angeles Chargers are a bit of an unknown this year. The team was plagued with problems and is still in a ‘building’ mode. Yet, they managed to pull off four wins to end the 2020 season and quarterback Justin Herbert has a lot of buzz this season, finishing with a comfortable 3.1:1 touchdown to interception ratio. The Chargers could be a sneaky team that could upset a team’s post-season plans in the second half of the season.

  1. Baltimore Ravens, Week 13

The Ravens in week 13 will be entering Pittsburgh, making this slightly less challenging for the Steelers. Only slightly. The back half of the schedule could prove to be rather difficult and much of that challenge starts in week 13. Again, the Steelers will need to control the Ravens offense and create a home field buzz. In terms of ‘perception’ for the Steelers, this may be one of the more important games.

  1. Tennessee Titans, Week 15

The Tennessee Titans are a physical team, although one which may have hit a certain peak. Despite naysayers, the Titans have made it work with Ryan Tannehill at the helm and Derrick Henry pounding the ball. Once again, this a game that the Titans or Steelers could be pushing themselves in or out of the playoffs.

  1. Las Vegas Raiders, Week 2

The Las Vegas Raiders that, despite several questions, are a challenge to play. In week 2 this game will be important to set a tone for the season. The Steelers have the better roster and more prolific players. The Raiders rather meek prospects in the backfield and heavy emphasis on Derek Carr make the Raiders less of a challenge than other teams this season.

  1. At Minnesota Vikings, Week 14

Minnesota could be up or down this season depending on the week. Dalvin Cook will be a game-changer for the Vikings, and a challenge for the Steelers defense. Yet, the Vikings defense has been slipping into mediocrity in recent years, which could allow the Steelers own rookie running back, Harris, to breakaway in week 14.

  1. Chicago Bears, Week 9

This match could be very tough for the Steelers all depending on how Chicago Bears rookie quarterback Justin Fields is playing in week 9. The Steelers aim at creating a top-five defense for 2021, however, make this game likely more challenging for the Bears and not the Steelers. A strong pass rush and smart defensive alignment should allow the Steelers to control Fields in week 9.

  1. Detroit Lions, Week 10

The Detroit Lions expectations are low. They finished with the worst defense in the NFL and an offense that could only be described as boring. Some new life in the team this year and fundamental strategy changes offer a few extra promises that may make this game slightly more challenging for the Steelers; but that challenge will only come from the new strategy, on necessarily any coherent group the Lions management has established.

  1. At Cincinnati Bengals, Week 12

A weak offensive line has endangered the health of anyone in the backfield of the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals are unlikely to find extra pieces to eclipse 8-8 this season. The Steelers will likely learn from their week 15 loss to the Bengals last season and ensure those mistakes are not repeated. Marching into Cincinnati may be slightly more challenging than playing them at home, but both games should be – if the Steelers do not flat line mid-season again – winnable.

  1. Cincinnati Bengals, Week 3

Playing Cincinnati early in the season at home should be a win for the Steelers. This is a must win challenge if the Steelers have aspirations of going deeper into the playoffs or setting any kind of early season tone.

  1. Denver Broncos, Week 5

A team that is trying to experiment to find the ‘right pieces’ in order to ‘re-build’ around is not a good team. The Steelers should be able to take care of an offense that is still trying to find the right pieces to even begin a solid construction around. The Broncos defense is not as bad as other teams on the schedule. However, keeping on the field should wear down the team and give the Steelers a comfortable lead on clock time.

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