After falling short in the AFC Championship game last season to New England, the Steelers will soon embark upon another opportunity to win their seventh Super Bowl before any other team gets six.
Many believe that Pittsburgh’s only obstacle will be New England, yet again. They will play in week 15 this season in a game that could determine home field advantage for the playoffs, if it isn’t already.
The Steelers schedule includes six games against the AFC North, as usual. They will also play the NFC North and some other notable matchups. So, I’ll break it down game by game.
Week One (Sept. 10): at Cleveland Browns, 1:00 PM
The Steelers have tortured Cleveland ever since Ben Roethlisberger came into the league. Cleveland, of course, hasn’t been all that great of a franchise lately, anyway.
After having THREE first round picks including the number one selection in which they took Myles Garrett, the Browns retooled their defense. Jabrill Peppers and David Njoku were the other two first round selections.
Couple that their selection of DeShone Kiser, the Browns have some more potential than in recent seasons but this matchup and season likely won’t favor them.
Predictions: Steelers 27, Browns 6
Week Two (Sept. 17): vs. Minnesota Vikings, 1:00 PM
The Vikings got off to a 5-0 start last season despite the loss of star quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. It looked as though Sam Bradford may have rediscovered himself with his new team and was prepared to lead the Vikings on a deep playoff run.
Well, that didn’t happen.
The Vikings fell short but with additions like Latavius Murray and Riley Reiff while drafting former Florida State running back Dalvin Cook and Jaleel Johnson, their season, and this game should be rather exciting.
Prediction: Steelers 24, Vikings 21
Week Three (Sept. 24): at Chicago Bears, 1:00 PM
Chicago selected quarterback Mitchell Trubisky in the first round in the offseason’s draft even after signing Mike Glennon to a rather not-so-backup-quarterback-contract. The Steelers got torched on the road by a rookie QB on the road in week three last season (Carson Wentz), but that shouldn’t happen this time around. The Bears are still a pretty awful team. Yes, I have Trubisky starting by week three.
Prediction: Steelers 38, Bears 10
Week Four (Oct. 1): at Baltimore Ravens, 1:00 PM
Fresh off a 3-0 start to the season, the Steelers head to Baltimore and take on their nemesis. Baltimore’s hunger to avenge Pittsburgh for the Antonio Brown Christmas magic that sealed the division victory and their home-field advantage in the game provide the boost they need to win an early season important game. Though, a very close game throughout, the defensive battle goes to Baltimore.
Prediction: Ravens 17, Steelers 14
Week Five (Oct. 8): vs. Jacksonville Jaguars, 1:00 PM
The Steelers get the Jaguars in week five after a depressing loss the week before. They’ll take on a prettt mediocre offense that struggles to get anything going. The Steelers end up having a defensive clinic with three sacks and two interceptions in a rout of the Jaguars.
Prediction: Steelers 24, Jaguars 3
Week Six (Oct. 15) at Kansas City Chiefs, 4:25 PM
The Steelers handled the Chiefs easily in the regular season last year and barely beat them with field goals in the playoffs. They’ve got a really good quarterback in Alex Smith and their newest draft pick in Patrick Mahomes. Their still one of the league’s premier teams. Thus, presenting one of the biggest challenges on the schedule this year. I think the Steelers get the job done.
Prediction: Steelers 28, Chiefs 17
Week Seven (Oct. 22) vs. Cincinnati Bengals, 1:00 PM
Now, maybe more exciting than Ravens games, the Bengals come to Heinz Field to impose their will on the Steelers. Head coach Marvin Lewis will do as he usually does and come oh-so-close to a victory but fall short. While the running back trio of Gio Bernard, Jeremy Hill, and Joe Mixon will be tough to prepare for, Andy Dalton will struggle and the Bengals fall victim to the Steelers again.
Prediction: Steelers 14, Bengals 10
Week Eight (Oct. 29) at Detroit Lions, 8:30 PM
Sunday Night Football on NBC! Roethlisberger and Matthew Stafford engage in a duel for the win. This is a game, if they are a plus team by week eight, that I can see the Lions winning. The Steelers are going to show up ready to play but Stafford, on a mission to prove the doubters wrong on national television in regards to his new contract, outlasts his QB counterpart and the Lions prevail in a thriller.
Prediction: Lions 38, Steelers 30
Week Nine: Bye Week
C’mon, only the Jets and Browns manage to lose to the bye week. Steelers sit at 6-2 and first place at the bye.
Week Ten (Nov. 12) at Indianapolis Colts, 1:00 PM
This is a hard game to call right now. The health of Andrew Luck seems to be of question heading into the year. Whether or not he plays by this time won’t matter. The Steelers should prevail anyway. But, of the Colts want any chance at winning games this year, they’ll need him. If Luck isn’t starting, expect newly-acquired back up Jacoby Brissett to crumble against this defense. Steelers win big.
Prediction: Steelers 32, Colts 3
Week Eleven (Nov. 16) vs. Tennessee Titans, 8:25 PM
Thursday Night Football and the beginning of a four week stretch of primetime games, the Steelers face one of my more intriguing dark horses of this year, and my pick to win the AFC South, Tennessee. The Titans young QB, Marcus Mariota, is a stud in the making and has some weapons at his disposal again this season. They will make it an exciting game but one the Steelers will win. My bold prediction is that Le’Veon Bell will rush for 150 yards and have two touchdowns. Big fantasy day on Thursday to start your fantasy week out with a big lead.
Prediction: Steelers 20, Titans 18
Week Twelve (Nov. 26) vs. Green Bay Packers, 8:30 PM
Talk about a good primetime football game. Aaron Rodgers vs. Big Ben at Heinz Field. The Packers, one of my favorites heading into the year, pose a threat to the Steeler in this game. Rodgers might be considered the best QB of his generation, at least in my eyes, if he had even one more Super Bowl. He has a better skill set than Tom Brady and don’t argue with me otherwise. My man crush on Rodgers makes me hesitant to bet against him. The Packers get a win on the road.
Prediction: Packers 27, Steelers 17
Week Thirteen (Dec. 4) at Cincinnati Bengals, 8:30 PM
Primetime. Steelers vs. Bengals in Cincy. I’m not even going to bother with this one.
Prediction: Steelers 24, Bengals 3
Week Fourteen (Dec. 10) vs. Baltimore Ravens, 8:30 PM
Their final primetime game of the season, Pittsburgh at home against Baltimore. Ravens won the first meeting at their house. The Steelers win the latter meeting at theirs.
Prediction: Steelers 30, Ravens 17
Week Fifteen (Dec. 17) vs. New England Patriots, 4:25 PM
I shortened the last two weeks because I already previewed those teams and everyone circled this game on their calendar. “It’s going to determine home-field in the playoffs!” I’ve got news for you. No, it won’t. The Patriots are going 15-1. The consolation? The Steelers are the one. Last year, back up QB Landry Jones had to play and, honestly, looked pretty okay doing it in Foxborough and gave the Steelers a chance to win where no one ever does. The Steelers will, hopefully, have Roethlisberger and a healthy core while adding Martavis Bryant back into the mix. They’re going to be the “1” in the Patriots’ loss column and play inspired in front of their home crowd.
Prediction: Steelers 24, Patriots 20
Week Sixteen (Dec. 25) at Houston Texans, 4:30 PM
Christmas time and the Steelers will play in it again. Last year, the Christmas miracle heaved them to a division title. This season, such won’t be necessary. But, TJ Watt and JJ Watt both record 1.5 sacks trying to outdo each other. TJ’s team wins in a game where points will be hard to come by.
Prediction: Steelers 13, Texans 7
Week Seventeen (Dec. 31) vs. Cleveland Browns
Back-ups will play just as last year’s week 17. Steelers back-ups still beat Browns’ starters.
Prediction: Steelers 17, Browns 3
AFC Wild Card Round
The Steelers finish the regular season at 13-3 and get the second bye behind the Patriots. The three-seeded Raiders beat the six-seeded Bengals in round one. Fifth-seed Chiefs defeat the four-seed Titans. AFC Divisional round features the Patriots vs. Chiefs and Raiders vs. Steelers.
AFC Divisional Round
Man, this will be a fun game for me to watch as I am a fan of Oakland. As I will undoubtedly root for the Steelers, it will be exciting to watch Derek Carr and Roethlisberger battle it out. The Raiders potent offense will show. But, their suspect defense ends up being their demise. Watch out, though. 2018 could seriously be their year. Patriots handle the Chiefs easily.
Prediction: Steelers 38, Raiders 28
AFC Championship Round
Here is your rematch, folks. It is, yet again, in Foxborough. Remember, the Pats don’t lose there. It won’t change here. The Steelers pulled out a huge victory in week 15 but the Patriots and Tom Brady will get the best of the Steelers again. It sucks to say it. Want more consolation, though? The Seahawks will revenge the Patriots in the Super Bowl from the Pete Carroll decision to pass on the two yard line.
Prediction: Patriots 24, Steelers 20