The offseason is inevitably a period of projection and speculation, which makes it the ideal time to ponder the hypotheticals that the Pittsburgh Steelers will face over the course of the next year, whether it is addressing free agency, the draft, performance on the field, or some more ephemeral topic.
That is what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).
The range of topics will be intentionally wide, from the general to the specific, from the immediate to that in the far future. And as we all tend to have an opinion on just about everything, I invite you to share your own each morning on the topic statement of the day.
Topic Statement: The schedule-makers erred in setting the Kansas City Chiefs game ahead of the Houston Texans’ game.
Explanation: The Chiefs will play at 1 PM today. If they win, the Texans will have no incentive to try to beat the Tennessee Titans, since they will become locked into the fourth seed, and thus they will be dramatically more likely to rest starters, while the Titans have every motivation to give maximum effort to achieve victory.
If the idea is to create the most drama by setting up compelling and competitive scenarios, then this is an obvious significant failure on the league’s part to tier games that could potentially influence one another at different times.
Considering that they had the foresight to move the Steelers and Texans games to the same time, they should have also had the wherewithal to understand that Kansas City’s game also has a pertinent impact on that race for the sixth seed, within the race for the third seed, which is still alive—but may not be when the Texans kick off.
Put simply, if the Chiefs win, it greatly reduces the chances of the Titans losing, and thus reduces the significance of the Steelers’ game. There’s no way that that is what they wanted. If anything, it would have made more sense to have the Steelers and Titans games on early and the Chiefs game in the afternoon.
Whether or not the Chiefs win their game, the Titans still have to win theirs, and as we talk about the Steelers having a hard enough time of beating the Ravens, it should be obvious that the Texans are not just going to lay down in pre-determined defeat.
Beyond that, there are numerous factors that they have to consider in making these schedules, not all of which they will be able to satisfy from a logistical and/or practical level. It’s an inevitability, so to characterize it as an error is a bit much.