Tonight, the NFL schedule will be released. Many people gravitate to watch the unveiling of the schedule to know when their team will play opponents. The opponents of the schedule are not a surprise.
This year, the Steelers tackle the NFC North, AFC South, top team in the AFC East (Patriots), top team in the AFC West (Chiefs), and their division rivals (x2). The schedule release will just let us know the specifics of where we can see the terrible towels each weekend.
Making the schedule is no easy feat; in fact, the NFL was not originally sure they would be able to accomplish the task by today’s due date. Many nuances factor into making the schedule work. This includes, television network requests, team requests, stadium blocks, travel, time zones, and weather. To be honest the schedule is just a giant math algorithm, but every problem has a solution.
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This writer took a crack at the Steelers’ schedule; the probability of this being correct is slim-to-none but it was a fun exercise.
With the University of Pittsburgh facing Penn State in College Station, I believe the the Steelers start the season at home. Why not give them a Division rival; tween games against the Bengals have been fun the last few seasons.
Away versus the Chicago Bears
No games in the NFL are easy but on paper this should allow the Steelers to pick up an early win.
Facing the Titans early in the year will be a good test; they came on strong before Marcus Mariota’s injury last season.
Away versus the Cleveland Browns
Take the two hour drive down to the northwest to take on the young Browns with their 11 new rookies draft picks.
New England Patriots
New England will most likely face the Falcons week 1 in prime time, so the NFL will give them a little time before they have this Monday Night Football game. The rematch of the AFC Championship hopefully brings a more welcomed result.
Vikings will be playing the Browns in London either week 7 or 8. This game would be a good test right before they fly over to London. It would cut their trip over the pond down by a couple hours.
The Jags have enough problems, then the NFL adds a snow game to their schedule.
Away versus the Kansas City Chiefs
Week 8 usually has the most teams on bye, so the NFL puts this game on Sunday Night Football. The Steelers have absolutely destroyed the Chiefs in the last two meetings
Away versus the Baltimore Ravens
Divisional opponent heading into the bye creates a great story-line for the broadcasters; and it is the Ravens, not much hyping is needed for this one.
Bye-week; rest up for the playoff-run to the Super Bowl! A late bye-week would be a nice break before the playoff push.
Away versus the Indianapolis Colts
Come out of the bye with extra time to prepare for Andrew Luck’s Colts and their stable of wideouts. NFL Network loves to have divisional rivals play Thursday Night Football; however, coming out of the bye-week would be perfect time for a Thursday game. The Colts hosting the Steelers would drum up decent enough publicity to entice the NFL executives to pull this one off.
Away versus the Cincinnati Bengals
This Thanksgiving weekend will be filled with Turkey and Bengal in a late afternoon game. There is not a better way to fight a food-coma than watching the Steelers and Bengals battle it out.
The second match-up versus the Browns to bring in the month of December.
Green Bay Packers
Nothing better than two cold-blooded teams facing off in December. Although the Pack have been worse at home than usual the past couple seasons, having this as a home game is still much better.
Away versus the Houston Texans
The NFL will hope that both these teams will be in the playoff hunt and capitalize on big ratings. Sunday Night Football perhaps?
Away versus the Detroit Lions
Steelers will get a Christmas gift; playing a December game indoors.
NFL rules state that teams face divisional opponents to end the season. This game could result in the winner heading to the playoff; the loser gets to visit family to start the new year.
Obviously, the 2017 season is going to be hyped-up due to the fact the Steelers were one win away from making yet another Super Bowl appearance. Adding to the intrigue, is the passing of their long-time staple, Dan Rooney. Is this the year the Steelers hoist the Lombardi Trophy for the seventh time and dedicate it to their late-great?
Be sure to check back here when the real schedule is released to see how my scheduling skills match up with the NFL’s.
Scott Menk writes about the Steelers for cover32 and is excited for the opportunity to cover the only NFL team with six Lombardi Trophies. Scott can be followed on Twitter @SGMENK.