With the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2023 schedule now known, many analysts have dived into it to find easy and hard stretches of games. The end of the Steelers’ schedule seems the most difficult, with three of their last four games on the road.
NFL.com analyst Nick Shook believes the Steelers’ last three games — vs. Cincinnati Bengals, at Seattle Seahawks, and at Baltimore Ravens — could determine their season.
“Even if it has occasionally ended in the heartbreak of narrowly missing the postseason, the Steelers have been known to finish campaigns on strong notes,” wrote Shook. “They’ll need that type of energy in the final three weeks of this season. The Steelers host Cincinnati for a Saturday game in Week 16 in what could be pivotal to the final AFC North standings, hit the road for a trip to Seattle and return to renew one of the NFL’s most popular rivalries against Baltimore to close the season.”
Reccently, the Steelers have been known to “unleash hell” in December and January. In the past two seasons Pittsburgh has gone a combined 9-3 in the last two months of the regular season. And as Steelers fans know, the team never likes to make it easy so it is pretty likely the season will come down to the wire again.
What will make Weeks 16-18 difficult is the quality of opponents. In Week 16, the Bengals matchup will be difficult, but thankfully it is as in the friendly confines of Acrisure Stadium, a place the team has gone 5-1 in at home in December and January the last two seasons. However, the Bengals have seemingly had the Steelers’ number recently with Pittsburgh only winning one of the last five meetings against them. Cincinnati has also gone to two consecutive AFC title games and had done a good job going on runs at the end of seasons.
Moving to Week 17, Pittsburgh will play at Seattle, a place where it has only won once, all the way back in 1983. While this may be the “easiest” game on paper during the final three-game stretch, having to travel across the country, sandwiched between games against Cincinnati and Baltimore, will be a difficult task.
Finally, we get to Week 18, when the Steelers take on the archrival Baltimore Ravens. While the Steelers have had success in M&T Bank Stadium and against the Ravens in general in recent years, a new-look Baltimore offense could be tricky to deal with. Under offensive coordinator Greg Roman the Steelers defense was consistently able to stymie Ravens Pro Bowl quarterback Lamar Jackson. Now the Ravens offense will be run by Todd Monken, and he may implement a different style that could give Pittsburgh’s defense fits.
Overall, the Steelers’ schedule isn’t especially difficult, with many of the most difficult matchups at home. Ideally, Pittsburgh will have locked up a playoff spot before the brutal stretch at the end of the season, but that is far from guaranteed. Head coach Mike Tomlin usually has his team ready to go at the end of the season and with the gauntlet this year that may be even more important than usual.