Pittsburgh Steelers 2012 Schedule: Which Games Could Be on National TV?

Nick SignorelliSenior Writer IApril 18, 2012

Pittsburgh Steelers 2012 Schedule: Which Games Could Be on National TV?

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    Steelers fans all over the country await the release of the NFL schedule every year, along with fans of every other team.

    Of course, there is more than one reason for this, especially if you live outside of Pittsburgh. Am I going to have to buy the Sunday Ticket?

    See, if you are like me, you want to be able to watch at least half of the games from the comfort of myour own home. There is something about getting to make BBQ ham sammiches and perogis and wash it down with some Iron City beer with friends over.

    However, it is also just as fun to go to the original Pittsburgh Steelers fan club here in Fort Myers, Fla.  They are a great bunch of Stillers fans there, and it gives you the feeling of being there in the game. That does not even take into account that I am treated like a celebrity there because I am a featured writer here on Bleacher Report (seriously, I couldn't believe it either).

    So, in deciding if I was going to spend the money on Sunday Ticket, I had to analyze the schedule to see if I could figure out which Steelers games were likely to be on national TV.

    And this is what I came up with.

Week 1: At Denver Broncos

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    To say that the Steelers have revenge on their minds would be an understatement. Yes, we know that last year has NOTHING to do with this year, but the sting from losing in the playoffs to Tim Tebow still lingers in Pittsburgh.

    Yes, Tebow is gone and Peyton Manning is in Denver now, but that does not change anything.

    The NFL has decided to put this game on the opening weekend in prime-time, to have Manning in his first game back, the first game in over a year, and put him against the Steelers.

    Though I am not projecting winners and losers at this point, I would not want to put money on the Broncos.

    Either way, this game is in prime-time, so we know that this is on national TV (NBC).

Week 2: Vs New York Jets

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    In Week 2, the Steelers will have their home opener against the New York Jets. Though there is nowhere near the bad blood the Steelers have for other teams like the Ravens or Bengals, this game will still put two teams against each other that are very similar.

    Both teams have great defenses which could lead their teams to the playoffs, but the timing of this game is a little strange, as the start time is scheduled for 4:15.

    Normally, when two East Coast teams are scheduled to play each other at 4:15 p.m., it usually means that it is going to be the second game of a doubleheader.

    With two potential playoff teams playing in what is likely to be one of the most important early-season games, I can not help but think this game is going to be on national TV.

Week 3: At Oakland Raiders

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    Even though this game is slated for the 4:15 p.m. time slot, the game is being played in Oakland. Even though the Raiders and Steelers hate each other, this game is not likely to be one that non-Steelers or Raiders fans are going to want to see.

    Though it will be seen in some parts of the country, the odds are, the only way this game is going to be seen is on Direct TV.

Week 5: Vs Philadelphia Eagles

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    The entire state of Pennsylvania has been waiting for these two teams to make it to the Super Bowl so we can all finally have the Turnpike Super Bowl.

    Though there is a chance of that happening this year, that is not what this is about.

    The Steelers and Eagles will be playing on a Sunday at 1 p.m. on FOX.

    It is hard to analyze this game for national TV because that decision is going to be based on how the Eagles and Steelers are going to be when they play.

    If both teams have solid records, with no more than a loss each, odds are, this game will be national.

    However, that may not be the case, so it looks like this game won't be national.

Week 6: At Tennessee Titans

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    The Steelers and Titans will square off on a short week, as the Steelers travel to Tennessee to play the Titans.

    This game is on Thursday night on NFL Network, so we know this game will be on national TV.

Week 7: At Cincinnati Bengals

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    Ten days later, the Steelers will travel to Cincinnati to play the Bengals.

    Not only is this an important AFC North game, the first for the Steelers, but it is also going to be played on Sunday Night Football.

    This game could go a long way towards shaping the AFC North race, and the Steelers will get their second nationally-televised game in a row.

Week 8: Vs Washington Redskins

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    The Redskins have made the trade of the year to move up in the draft so they can select Robert Griffin III. Though that is big offseason news, it really isn't going to have very much of a positive effect for the Skins once the real games are going to start.

    With a rookie QB traveling to Pittsburgh to play the Steelers, this is not a dream TV matchup, and one that is not going to be on TV outside of Pittsburgh.

Week 9: At New York Giants

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    Oh, so many storylines for this game...

    Ben vs Eli, battle of QB class of 04.

    Ten Super Bowl Championships between them.

    That and the fact that once again, we have two East Coast teams playing at 4:15 p.m.

    There is no doubt this is going to be the game of the week, and on national TV.

Week 10: Vs Kansas City Chiefs

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    There are a few different directions this game could be headed in. They both could be leading their respective divisions, which would make this a great game.

    Todd Haley gets to try and extract revenge against his old team.

    Either way, the NFL believes this is going to be a great game, based on the fact it is on Monday Night Football.

    National TV.

Week 11: Vs Baltimore Ravens

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    Baltimore Ravens vs Pittsburgh Steelers

    One of the best rivalries in the NFL. So much so, the NFL has decided to start their season series in Pittsburgh at night, much to the chagrin of the Ravens.

    Sunday Night Football!

Week 11: At Cleveland Browns

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    Though the Steelers and Browns are a great rivalry, and even though their games last year were both closer than many in Steelers Nation believed they should, this game is not going to be on national TV.

    The Browns are getting better, and within a couple years, this rivalry could be what it once was.

    That time just isn't now, and this game is not going to be on national TV.

Week 13: At Baltimore Ravens

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    The Steelers and Ravens will play for the second time in three weeks. This is going to be like a heavyweight fight. 

    Neither of these teams are going to have the chance to heal from the game two weeks earlier, and they are going to have to play again.

    All I can say is, the team that is in the best shape injury-wise is probably going to be the winner of this game.

    The NFL knows that this is a big game for both teams and COULD give the winner the AFC North Championship.

    That is why this game is at 4:15 p.m. and going to be on national TV.

Week 14: Vs San Diego Chargers

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    One of the scheduling "quirks" for teams in the western time zone is that they don't like to have to play games in the eastern time zone when that game is played at 1:00 p.m.

    For the Chargers to be playing in Pittsburgh and the game scheduled for 1:00 p.m., that does not bode well for the Chargers.

    This would be a prime game for the NFL to have scheduled for 4:15 p.m. and made it a national game. Maybe they don't believe in the Chargers, but this game is not going to be on national TV.

Week 15: At Dallas Cowboys

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    The Steelers will take on one of their hated rivals, the Dallas Cowboys. If this season goes like most, the Cowboys will be in the middle of a losing streak, and Pittsburgh will be trying to wrap up home-field advantage.

    With a 4:15 p.m. start time, this game is likely going to be considered one of the best of the week and will be the second game of a doubleheader on CBS.

Week 16: Vs Cincinnati Bengals

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    In what could be the most pivotal game in the AFC North in 2012, the Steelers and Bengals will play the 1:00 p.m. game in Week 16.

    As great as this game may be, it may not be on at this time at all.

    In the last six weeks of the NFL season, the NFL can "flex" one of their most important games into prime-time, and this game has the build up to be the flexed game for this week.

    If it is, then the AFC North is probably going to be on the line, and it will be national.

    If one team has been eliminated from the AFC North, then this game won't have all that much meaning.

    My guess? This game will be flexed and become national.

Week 17: Vs Cleveland Browns

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    How do the Cleveland Browns want to see this game?

    As a chance to either knock the Steelers out of the AFC North race, or keep them from getting home-field advantage or hurting their playoff seed.

    How do the Pittsburgh Steelers want to see this game?

    Let's already lock up the AFC North and home-field advantage through the playoffs, so we can play our starters the first half, rest them the second and not worry about seeding because we have it locked up.

    How does the NFL see this game?

    BORING, and not worthy of national TV.

Conclusion

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    If you want to know how the NFL thinks a team is going to do, you start off by looking at their prime-time games.

    The Steelers are scheduled to have five, with a very realistic option of having another game flexed into prime-time, giving the Steelers the total allotment of six games, all that any team can have in prime-time.

    Then look at the games that the Steelers will likely be part of a national doubleheader, which is another four games.

    That brings the total national games for the Pittsburgh Steelers to 10 games, and another six games that are looking to be fan club games.

    Sorry, Direct TV, you aren't getting my money this year.