Pittsburgh Steelers 2012 Schedule: Power Ranking Steel-Town's Toughest Matchups

Donald Wood@@Donald_WoodFeatured ColumnistApril 18, 2012

PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 15:  Linebacker James Harrison #92 of the Pittsburgh Steelers sacks quarterback Joe Flacco #5 of the Baltimore Ravens during the AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Heinz Field on January 15, 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

If you get one piece of knowledge from this article, let it be that the Pittsburgh Steelers' 2012 schedule proves that the NFL loves them. With at least five prime-time games (flex not included), Pittsburgh will be under the spotlight—a lot.

With an insanely tough schedule again, it’s time to break down which matchups are the toughest this season. From top to bottom, the Steelers have arguably the toughest schedule in the NFL, but certain matchups will test the team’s talent and composure.

All of the games this season are important for every team, but all games are not equal.

These are the Steelers' toughest matchups.

1. Week 1, 9/1: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Denver Broncos 8:20 ET, NBC

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There is no better way to set the tone for the season than by beating Peyton Manning in his debut with the Denver Broncos. In Denver, no less.

If there was ever a team that could walk into a building as tough as Mile High and sneak out a win, especially after being bounced in the playoffs by a Tebow-led team, it would be the new and improved Steelers.

With the desire to set the tone for what could be a big season for the Steelers, Pittsburgh will come out all guns blazing in this game. With all the distractions around Manning, it will be interesting to see how well the team reacts to a focused Steelers squad.

2. Week 5, 10/7: Philadelphia Eagles vs. Pittsburgh Steelers 1 ET, FOX

PITTSBURGH - AUGUST 18:  Arnaz Battle #81 of the Pittsburgh Steelers attempts to break a tackle from Nate Allen #29 of the Philadelphia Eagles after catching a pass during the preseason game on August 18, 2011 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

While the Philadelphia Eagles did not make the playoffs last season, they are still one of the toughest teams in the NFL. Pittsburgh will have their hands full.

With the steel curtain of the defense not being as impenetrable as it once was, the potent Eagles offense may be able to manipulate the aging defense and pick them apart.

AFC vs. NFC matchups in the regular season are hard to read, but this Week 5 matchup will show where each team is on the Super Bowl-worthy scale. In two of the toughest divisions in football, Philly and Pittsburgh will continue their rivalry on the gridiron.

3. Week 11, 11/18: Baltimore Ravens vs. Pittsburgh Steelers 8:20 ET, NBC

PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 15:  Linebacker Terrell Suggs #55 of the Baltimore Ravens sacks quarterback Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the fourth quarter of the AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Heinz Field on January 15, 2011 in Pittsburgh
Nick Laham/Getty Images

In the first of two divisional matchups between the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers, the NFL has made the executive decision to make that a prime-time, Sunday night game. Wise move.

While every divisional matchup across the NFL is tough to predict, this war between the Ravens and Steelers in the AFC North has become the stuff of legends. With no team getting the clear advantage over the years, the ever-continuing rivalry has become the most well known in the NFL.

Year in and year out, both teams put a top-tier defense on the field. With both the Ravens and Steelers offenses being much stronger than in years past, these defensive battles could become offensive showcases this season.

Check back for more on the National Football League as it comes, and check out Bleacher Report’s NFL Page to get your fill of all things football.


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