Take it for whatever it’s worth, but by the most simplistic metric possible, the Pittsburgh Steelers are projected to have an easy go of it in 2020. Based on the win-loss records from 2019 of their upcoming opponents for next season, they have the second-easiest projected schedule for 2020.
The Steelers, who finished second in the AFC North behind the Baltimore Ravens last season, will be facing the AFC South, as well as the NFC East, who were two of the worst divisions in football last season, and they will also face the Buffalo Bills from the AFC East and the Denver Broncos from the AFC West.
The Steelers’ 2020 opponents finished last season with an overall record of 117-139, resulting in a total winning percentage of .457. They are one of only three teams who have a schedule that amounted to a winning percentage of .460 or below last season.
Only 13 teams will face a slate of opponents who collectively posted a winning percentage of below .500, though two teams will face a schedule that played exactly .500 football, including the defending Super Bowl champions, the Kansas City Chiefs.
The problem is that the Ravens actually have the easiest schedule, by a good margin. While the Steelers get the Bills and the Broncos, the Ravens get to face the Miami Dolphins and the Los Angeles Chargers from the East and West, respectively. Neither of them did particularly well last season. Their opponents’ winning percentage collectively was just .438 in 2019.
Of course as you all should be aware, a team’s winning percentage from one season can mean next to nothing for the following year. The San Francisco 49ers were one of the worst teams in football in 2018, and then one of the best last year, making it to the Super Bowl.
As for the Steelers, they went 8-8 last season, but they did that without their starting quarterback, so it stands to reason, assuming Ben Roethlisberger can play healthy, that Pittsburgh’s opponents will be getting a team that is much tougher than a .500 record suggests.
As it currently stands, from the AFC South, the Steelers will be facing Deshaun Watson, Jacoby Brissett, Gardner Minshew, and…possibly Ryan Tannehill, if he re-signs with the Tennessee Titans. From the NFC East, they will have Daniel Jones, presumably Dak Prescott, Dwayne Haskins, and Carson Wentz. The Broncos present Drew Lock, and the Bills have Josh Allen. They faced Brissett and Allen last season, winning to the first (knocking him out of the game) and losing to the other.