The Pittsburgh Steelers are out of Latrobe and back at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, also referred to as the South Side Facility. We are already into the regular season, where everything is magnified and, you know, actually counts. The team is working through the highs and lows and dramas that go through a typical Steelers season.
How are the rookies performing? What about the players that the team signed in free agency? Who is missing time with injuries, and when are they going to be back? What are the coaches saying about what they are going to do this season that might be different from how it was a year ago?
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: Who has the more favorable schedule remaining between the Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens?
The Steelers and Ravens are as close to neck and neck as you can get heading into the final two games of the season without actually sharing the same record, and they’ve gotten to where they are by different means.
Pittsburgh started off slot before getting hot and then dropping a bunch in a row. Baltimore did the opposite. They were good early before torpedoing to 4-5 and looking as though the season were lost, but Lamar Jackson has gone 4-1 now in five starts, the only loss in over time to the Kansas City Chiefs.
On the flip side, the Steelers had a six-game winning streak following a 1-2-1 start. Then they dropped three in a row before coming back and beating the team they have had the most trouble beating over the course of the past two decades.
Pittsburgh has preserved its narrow edge against Baltimore, but both teams have one of their most difficult opponents of the season coming up next. The New Orleans Saints will host the Steelers while the Los Angeles Chargers host the Ravens. The Saints already beat the Ravens and the Chargers already beat the Steelers.
After these games, Pittsburgh finishes up at home against a Cincinnati Bengals team that has already lost Andy Dalton and A.J. Green. They have only barely managed to beat the Buccaneers and Raiders, going 2-7 after starting 4-1. The Ravens finish up against a Cleveland Browns team that is 4-2 since firing Hue Jackson and Todd Haley.
So who has an easier path to the AFC North crown? We now know for certain that it will be either the Steelers or Ravens. They both have very tough opponents on the road before playing softer divisional opponents, but the Browns are a bit of a wildcard at this point, and have also already beaten the Ravens this year.