sunday night football

2015 Steelers Schedule Prediction

I’ve done this each of the past 4 seasons, proposing what the Steelers schedule might look like prior to the NFL’s season schedule release (Tuesday, April 21). I’ve been close some years, close to completely wrong that is! Then there was 2 years ago when I nailed 5 of 16 games, the bye week, and 3 of their prime time games. So, what does this year hold?

For starters, I think they will open the season in New England on Thursday, September 10. The Patriots have a weak home schedule in 2015 and I don’t see the Jets or Dolphins being a draw. The Eagles last preseason game is on the road and the NFL wouldn’t make the Eagles travel on week 1. On the flip side, the Steelers are home in the final preseason Thursday night game. Besides the logistics, the history of the two teams rivalry over the past 15 years, franchise history’s, and Brady vs. Roethlisberger makes too much sense not to make happen.

The Steelers have a terrible schedule away from Heinz Field. In year’s past, they would be fortunate enough not to travel west of the Mississippi River. This year, they make two road trips to the west coast – Seattle and San Diego. The home schedule is just as terrible, not for travel – rather for competition. BRUTAL is more the word! The Colts and Broncos join the Ravens and Bengals as 4 of 8 teams occupying the visitors locker room in 2015.

This season I see the Steelers appearing the maximum 5 times on prime time, including the Thursday night opener. I also see them facing off against the Cardinals, Colts, Seahawks, and Broncos under the lights. Pending week 17 flex schedule, I can also see them facing the Ravens after 8PM.

And with that….

*Thursday, Sept 10: @ New England – 8:30P CBS
Sunday, Sept 20: VS. Cleveland – 1:00P CBS
Sunday, Sept 27: @ Kansas City – 1:00P CBS
Sunday, Oct 4: @ Baltimore – 1:00P CBS
Sunday, Oct 11: VS. Cincinnati – 1:00P CBS
*Monday, Oct 19: VS. Arizona – 8:30P ESPN *Crucial Catch*
Sunday, Oct 25: @ San Diego – 4:15P CBS
Sunday, Nov 1: BYE
*Sunday, Nov 8 VS. Indianapolis – 8:30P NBC
Sunday, Nov 15 @ Cleveland – 1:00P CBS
*Monday, Nov 23 @ Seattle – 8:15P ESPN
Sunday, Nov 29 VS. Oakland – 1:00P CBS
Sunday, Dec 6 VS. San Francisco – 1:00P
Sunday, Dec 13 @ Cincinnati – 1:00P CBS
*Sunday, Dec 20: VS. Denver – 8:30P NBC
Sunday, Dec 27: @ St. Louis – 1:00P CBS
Sunday, Jan 3 VS. Baltimore – 4:15P CBS

The Steelers make the most sense for the Patriots week 1, and the NFL ratings for that matter. Week 2 they return for a home game against the Browns, followed by road trips to the Chiefs and Ravens. They will play their third divisional game by October 11 when the Bengals travel to Pittsburgh. The Monday night game on October 19 makes sense for the NFL/American Cancer Society “A Crucial Catch” program. Both Larry Fitzgerald and newly acquired Steelers running back DeAngelo Williams are advocates for breast cancer awareness. Also, the Tomlin vs. Arians, Steelers vs. Steelers “West” match-up is too enticing to pass up. Next, the Steelers will travel on one of their two west coast road trips prior to their bye week. This could also be Seattle, but I kept that for later in the season. The Steelers open the second half of their schedule at home against the Colts on Sunday Night Football. The second west coast road trip will be bookend by a game at Cleveland – 125 mile bus trip for the Steelers, and then a home game verse the Raiders. This will hopefully keep the Steelers happy will travel. The 49ers will visit Heinz Field December 6, and then to wrap the season, the Steelers alternate road and home games.

This would be a fair schedule, and one that makes sense. With two, long, west coast trips, only one can be proceeded by a bye week. Play all three division opponents early, and then also late in November and December. The prime time match-ups are strong ratings draws for the networks, and like I said – week 17, pending CBS protection, I can easily see the Steelers vs. Ravens moved to Sunday night if playoff implications are at stake.

Now, we will see how close I am….

Over/under 4.5 game picked on the correct dates?
Over/under 4 prime time games? (I have 5)
Bye week after west coast trip?
Patriots to open the season?