Pittsburgh Steelers: Most Important Non-Divisional Matchups on the 2012 Schedule
The Pittsburgh Steelers have 10 matchups outside of their division in the upcoming 2012 season, with six coming in the AFC and four coming in the NFC.
Even though there are games teams should win handily, no team should ever just assume they’ll won when they enter the stadium.
Every game in the NFL is important and can have huge implications in the standings. However, here are the non-divisional games that look to be more significant at this point.
Week 1 Against Denver Broncos
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Last Meeting: 29-23, Loss, 2012 Wild Card Round
The first game of the 2012 season has the Steelers going up against the very team that unceremoniously knocked them out of last year's playoffs.
Obviously, the Steelers want to make up for the embarrassing loss.
However, they also need to make up for the atrocity that was their start against the Ravens last season as well. The Steelers got stomped on by the Ravens 35-7 in Week 1 last season, and I fully expect them to make sure they are ready to start the season this time around.
Week 9 Against New York Giants
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Last Meeting: 21-14, Loss—Week 8, 2008
Now the Giants are the defending Super Bowl Champions and the Steelers will have only played one divisional game to this point.
That is significant because anything can happen in a divisional game. That is why the Steelers need to stockpile these wins and gain some momentum going into the second half of the schedule.
Week 10 Versus Kansas City Chiefs
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Last Meeting: 13-9, Win—Week 12, 2011
The Kansas City Chiefs were a pretty bad team last season mainly due to major injuries. Yet the Steelers still struggled to put them away.
This was a game the Steelers were expected to win, especially considering the team was 7-3 and coming off of their bye week.
The Chiefs have played the Steelers surprisingly tough the last couple times they’ve played, and the team is going to need some momentum going into the last seven games, with five of those being within the division.
Week 14 Versus San Diego Chargers
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Last Meeting: 38-28, Win—Week 4, 2009
Ben Roethlisberger is 3-1 in his career against the San Diego Chargers. This game will be the first non-divisional game after a brutal stretch in which the Steelers play the Ravens twice in a three-week span.
The team will have to make sure to focus even more going into this game with all of the effort and energy that usually goes into a matchup with the Ravens.
By this point, we will know what kind of team the Steelers are in 2012, and this game is going to be very important to start off the last quarter of the season.
Week 15 Against Dallas Cowboys
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Last Meeting: 20-13, Win—Week 14, 2008
Although I have no doubt that the Steelers will win the division outright, games like this will be crucial for tiebreakers at the end of the year.
The Steelers will need to be playing at their best late in the season to pick up momentum going into the playoffs.