Jared Wickerham/Getty Images
The Steelers play the Ravens twice in the first nine weeks of the season, which should be a benefit to both teams.
The traditionally brutal games between these two teams can physically and emotionally exhaust the Steelers leaving them battered and bruised. However, playing the games early in the season will mean the players are fresher and should be able to recover from such demanding games.
Pittsburgh also plays Indianapolis and New England, two perennial AFC powers, in the first half of the season, as well as NFC playoff team Seattle.
Seattle also has to travel across the country for a 1:00 pm kickoff at Heinz Field which will greatly benefit the Steelers.
Since Mike Tomlin took over as head coach in 2007, the Steelers have started each season 6-2. To accomplish a strong start with a demanding early schedule would position the Steelers well to begin the season.
This goes hand-in-hand with the end of season schedule where the Steelers play only one playoff team from 2010 in their final seven games.
Pittsburgh, and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, have dominated the Bengals and Browns in recent years and the Steelers play each team twice down the stretch, including their season finale in Cleveland.
It helps set the Steelers up for a strong finish, along with a road Monday night game at San Francisco and a home game against St. Louis.
Just as Tomlin’s teams have started strong, they have also finished the season with a 3-1 record in three of his four seasons, with the lone exception being his first year when he admittedly worked his team too hard in training camp.
The Steelers also find themselves with only two back-to-back road games, but the second has a bye between the road games. They have three back-to-back home games on the schedule.