Three Games That Could Make Or Break 2023 Steelers

As we did last year, we’re gonna take a look at three games that could potentially make or break the Pittsburgh Steelers season. Last year, they went 2-1 in the games I laid out, although the Week 4 loss to the Jets was particularly heartbreaking and a key reason why Pittsburgh missed the playoffs. Hopefully, in 2022, these games help make instead of break the Steelers’ season.

Week 4 @ Houston Texans
The first true trap game on the schedule here. Coming off a Sunday Night Football road game against the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 3 after matchups against the San Francisco 49ers and Cleveland Browns to open up the season. Pittsburgh very well could be 2-1 heading into this game, with the Baltimore Ravens awaiting in Week 5 at Acrisure Stadium.

The Texans are expected to start rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud, and with three starts under his belt, he could start getting the hang of things heading into Week 4. This a game that the Steelers need to win. If they lose, there’s a realistic chance they head into their Week 6 bye at 2-3, which isn’t ideal. Just like the Jets game in Week 4 last season, the Texans are improved but are not on the same level as the Steelers. Pittsburgh can’t afford a letdown.

Week 10 vs. Green Bay Packers.
A Super Bowl XLV rematch with Kenny Pickett and Jordan Love in place of Ben Roethlisberger and Aaron Rodgers. The Packers are a bit of a wild card with Love under center this year, but I don’t expect them to be much better than a .500 team. The Steelers will enter this game coming off two fairly difficult matchups against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 8 and the Tennessee Titans on Thursday Night Football in Week 9.

That’s a stretch where really anything can happen, but let’s assume the Steelers end up going 1-1 over those two weeks. This is the third game of a three-game homestand at Acrisure Stadium before back-to-back road divisional matchups against the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns. Neither of those games are going to be easy, and if the Steelers drop this one against the Packers, they’ll put themselves at serious risk of hitting a midseason snag and potentially losing three in a row. Pittsburgh needs to take this one, and preferably easily (but we know that never happens), before buckling down for AFC North football on the road.

Week 14 vs. New England Patriots
Not only is beating the Patriots always sweet, but this Thursday Night Football matchup comes at a critical juncture in the Steelers’ schedule. After the back-to-back games against the Browns and Bengals, the Steelers welcome the Arizona Cardinals to Acrisure Stadium in Week 13 before hosting New England on a short week.

Assuming Pittsburgh doesn’t overlook the Cardinals, that should be a win before facing a Patriots team that should be right around the 8-9 win mark this season. Not only would the win give the Steelers a leg up on a team that could be around the same area in the AFC standings, but it gives them a win before a tough four-game stretch to close the year. After Week 14, the Steelers travel to Indianapolis for a tilt against the Colts before returning home for a Bengals game in Week 16. Then, they hit the road to Seattle in Week 17 and travel cross-country for a game against the Ravens in Week 18.

That’s not going to be an easy stretch by any means, and the Steelers are going to need a win here against New England to offer some protection if that four-game stretch ends with a 1-3 or 2-2 record.

I’m pretty high on the 2023 Steelers and I think they should be a playoff team. But these three games are going to be crucial to ensuring the team can be that. We’ll see what happens in a few months.

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