The Pittsburgh Steelers seem to be relatively happy and healthy coming out of their bye week after 10 straight weeks of battering their bodies. After all, there is a good deal to be happy about. Some of their main rivals in the Wildcard race fell, leaving them as the only non-division leader in the conference with a winning record.
As of this writing, in addition, it seems that they finally have a full complement of players participating in practice, a phenomenon that seemed to have gone extinct for much of the season, as key player after key player found himself sidelined for some period of time.
It’s not that the Steelers’ road to the playoffs is paved for them, however. They have little margin for error, to be truthful, even if they hold in their hands their own destiny. There are still some worth competitors that they must get through first. And the majority of their remaining journey indeed comes on the road.
The Steelers have already logged six home games during their 10-game slate to open the season, leaving them with just two for the remaining schedule. Four of the team’s last six games come on the road, starting Sunday evening in Washington state to face the Seattle Seahawks.
It’s then back to Pittsburgh where the Steelers figure to face the ‘Luck-less’ Colts, but then it’s back on the road, just a short way to Ohio, for a rematch with the Cincinnati Bengals, who beat them in a low-scoring affair at home in Week Eight with a fourth-quarter touchdown.
The Steelers get to return home to face the Broncos, who may or may not have Peyton Manning back by then, and then they wrap things up with two straight division games on the road, though admittedly the Ravens now Browns seem overly daunting at the moment.
Still, division games are division games, and the Steelers have certainly lost their share of them that they should have won over the years. They only went 4-2 in the division last year, and are just 1-2 thus far this year with a game remaining against each, the only victory over the Browns.
The Steelers have gone 2-2 thus far in their four games away from Heinz Field this year, with losses coming against the New England Patriots in the season opener and later against the Kansas City Chiefs, who are riding a four-game winning streak that started with the Steelers to climb just a game back in the Wildcard race.
The Steelers’ two victories game against a Rams team that couldn’t get out of its own way on offense that put up just six points, and later a battered Chargers offense that took a last-second Wildcat touchdown to secure.
Clearly, the road has not been overly kind to Pittsburgh, though teams very rarely perform as well away from their home stadium—even if the Steelers’ fan base gets around more than just about any other team. Spin it any way you want, though: there’s still a long road ahead for this team in 2015, and most of it leads away from the Steel City.