A little bit of legitimate football news the week before the draft! The NFL schedule was released last night, giving us our first chance to really predict things for the 2013 Steelers. Despite not knowing how any team will perform, who will get hurt, or how the draft will go, everyone on the internet is still going to break down the schedule and predict an exact W-L record for their team. Well, I'm on the internet, so it's time to join the party, right? Without further ado:
WEEK 1: Tennessee @ Pittsburgh
It feels like early-season games against the Titans happen every year, doesn't it? They're rarely easy games, as some lingering rivalry from the AFC Central really gets the hate flowing for these two teams. That said, Tennessee has fallen on hard times the past few years and it's totally unknown how they're going to play. Working in the Steelers' favor: The defense won't be worn out from a long season in week 1. If they can stop Chris Johnson, the Titans' offense becomes elementary.
Prediction: Steelers win a game that is closer than most expect.
WEEK 2: Pittsburgh @ Cincinnati
This game starts at an absurd 8:40 PM on Monday Night Football, and the schedule ramps up in a hurry. The Bengals are, and it feels sort of weird to say this, a pretty good football team. We know what Andy Dalton and AJ Green bring to the table (touchdowns) and BenJarvus Green-Ellis, esq. headlines a running game that may not dominate but can balance their offensive attack. Bernard Scott is still on the team and you just know he's going to convert a 4th down late in the game or something. The good news is that it's a road game in Cincinnati, which has never been terribly hostile to the Steelers.
Prediction: Cincinnati hands the Steelers and early-season disappointment with a late-game comeback.
WEEK 3: Chicago @ Pittsburgh
The Steelers' first of two appearances on Sunday Night Football features the Chicago Bears. This is a matchup to look forward to. Chicago and Pittsburgh have a similar identity, embodied in their football teams. Plus, Bears fans are cool. The downside? Jay Cutler is going to tear the Steelers apart, because for some reason he just always does.
Prediction: Jay Cutler throws for 460 yards and 3 TDs for some reason. Panic sets in in Pittsburgh.
WEEK 4: Pittsburgh @ Minnesota
The Steelers will make their first venture across the Atlantic to play the Vikings in the NFL's annual visit to Wembley Stadium in London. It'll be interesting to see how many Steeler fans attend, given that they always travel well. As for the football, the wacky week of travel makes things difficult to predict, but the Vikings aren't terribly good. Much the Titans, if you can stop Adrian Peterson, you can bring that offense to a screeching halt. Unfortunately, you can't stop Adrian Peterson. It's going to be a fun game. (Bonus drinking game: Take a drink every time they make a Big Ben QB/clock joke).
Prediction: The Steelers aerial attack speeds the game up too much for the Vikings to lean on the running game for 60 minutes. Steelers win.
WEEK 5: BYE
The Steelers get a week of rest to recover from the five-hour jet lag that comes with a trip to and from London. Jump for the rest of the schedule