The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2020 season is now in the books, and it ended in spectacular fashion—though the wrong kind of spectacular—in a dismal postseason defeat at the hands of the Cleveland Browns, sending them into an early offseason mode after going 12-4 in the regular season and winning the AFC North for the first time in three years.
After setting a franchise record by opening the year on an 11-game winning streak, they followed that up by losing three games in a row, going 1-4 in the final five games, with only a 17-point comeback staving off a five-game slide. But all the issues they had in the regular season showed up in the postseason that resulted in their early exit.
The only thing facing them now as they head into 2021 is more questions, and right now, they lack answers. What will Ben Roethlisberger do, and what will they do with him? What will the salary cap look like? How many free agents are they going to lose? Who could they possibly afford to retain? Who might they part ways with—not just on the roster, but also on the coaching staff?
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: What is your initial impression of the Steelers’ schedule?
Strength of schedule can mean something very different from the time it’s first sorted out to the time the games are actually played, as we all know. The timing of a game can also mean something very different by the time that game arrives, whether due to injuries or numerous other factors.
But we know have the who, the what, the when, the where, and the why of the Steelers’ 2021 schedule at our fingertips, so we might as well have a conversation about it, right? So, what is your initial impression about the team’s slate of opponents, and the order in which they take place?
The first thing that usually catches my attention for schedules is when the bye week is, and this year, it’s fairly centrally located at week seven. On paper, that’s neither too early nor too late, but of course, you never know until the season unfolds when the ‘ideal’ time to have a bye week would be. Though it’s never a bad thing to have a week off after facing a tough opponent and then facing a division rival.
Of course, the final stretch from week 13 on has gotten a lot of attention, with two games against the Ravens, a game against the Browns, and the Chiefs, Titans, and Vikings to boot. The way it currently looks, that’s going to be a bit of a gauntlet, and as we know, the Steelers’ December success has been the polar opposite of what it used to be, which is to say, it’s become non-existent.