Once the 2021 season ended all attention turned to the Steelers schedule for 2022. Would the Steelers have an easier schedule than the previous year? Would Mike Tomlin, in his first season without Ben Roethlisberger, continue his record of not having a losing season? Despite having the toughest schedule in 2021, the Pittsburgh Steelers scraped into the playoffs on the back of excellent defense and some quality fourth-quarter Quarterback play. What does 2022 have in store?
Steelers Schedule 2022
The dates and times are still to be announced, but we do know who the Pittsburgh Steelers will be competing against in 2022. In 2022, the AFC North will square up against the AFC East and the NFC South. Further, the AFC North will take on the teams from the AFC West at home (based on finishing position). Finally, they will play away to the AFC South and NFC East teams that finished in the same position.
Now that we have a 17th game every year, the Steelers will go on the road one extra time in 2022.
The Steelers schedule certainly has a few familiar faces in it. Just like every other year, the Steelers will play at home and away against their divisional rivals. In 2021, the Steelers lost both their home and away games to the Cincinnati Bengals. As we all know, the Bengals went all the way to the Super Bowl after the 2021 season so the two losses don’t seem too bad. If Pittsburgh is to make it back to the playoffs they can’t be getting swept by a divisional opponent. If not for competitive stakes, then just for bragging rights.
Despite getting dominated by the Bengals, the Steelers wouldn’t lose another divisional game in 2021. Remember all that chat that the Cleveland Browns would be going to the Super Bowl in 2021? Well, a weakened Steelers team still managed to dominate the “Dawg Pound” and beat them home and away. Ben Roethlisberger dominated the Browns his entire career and nothing changed in his final year. Going forward, whoever the new Quarterback is, this is a tradition that has to remain. Pittsburgh beats Cleveland, it’s just what happens.
Similar to the Browns, the Baltimore Ravens had no answer for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Baltimore did make it a much closer affair. In Week 13 the Steelers held on for a 20-19 victory at Heinz Field as the Ravens failed on a two-point conversion on the last play of the game. In his final game of the regular season in his career, Ben Roethlisberger orchestrated one final game-winning drive as he marched his team down the field for an overtime victory. This will be the first time in 18 years that the Ravens have to prepare for a new QB in Pittsburgh. A task that they will be relishing. 2022 will be vital for the Steelers against their divisional rivals if they want to continue their dominance in the North.
Steelers Schedule Outwith The North
Outside of the AFC North, the Steelers went .500 including a tie with the worst team in football. Pittsburgh played the NFC North and the AFC West in 2021. Two divisions that they will be glad to see the back of. Aaron Rodgers is back in Green Bay, Justin Fields is bound to be better in 2022, and don’t get me started on the AFC West.
Patrick Mahomes, Justin Herbert, Derek Carr, and now Russell Wilson. Has a division ever sent four teams to the playoffs? That is a real possibility with this division in 2022, and the Steelers will be glad to see the back of it. So, that leads us onto the AFC East and the NFC South. Two divisions that are easier now that a certain G.O.A.T has retired from the NFL.
Pittsburgh will play at home against the New England Patriots, the New York Jets, the New Orleans Saints, the Las Vegas Raiders, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Now that Tom Brady, Drew Brees, and Sean Payton are retired, these games got a whole lot easier. On the road, they will have to take on the Atlanta Falcons, the Buffalo Bills, the Carolina Panthers, the Indianapolis Colts, the Miami Dolphins, and the Philadelphia Eagles.
So, that makes ten games against teams that finished with winning records last season (Bengals twice, Patriots, Saints, Buccaneers, Bills, Colts, Dolphins, Raiders, and Eagles). This gives the Steelers opponents a winning percentage of .512 which is tied for the 12th hardest in the league.
Not exactly ideal in their first season without Roethlisberger. Every game is difficult to win in the NFL but a lot can be said about the strength of schedule. Next up is waiting on the schedule release. Strength of schedule is one thing, but when each fixture falls is even more important. You don’t want to be playing the Patriots, Bills, and Buccaneers in a three-week stretch. That isn’t great for morale.
Pittsburgh has a strong tradition of winning and if they are to have another winning season there is plenty they need to get sorted before the 2022 season kicks off.