6 Games on the Pittsburgh Steelers' Schedule That Could Be Blowouts
Blowout is not a term that is usually used to describe a Pittsburgh Steelers football game. Stressful, nail-biting or heart-stopping are better descriptive terms, but that does not mean the Steelers do not have the ability to dominate an opponent.
Over the past two seasons, the Steelers have won 12 games by more than 10 points and given how close the talent level is in the NFL, that is a fairly impressive number.
With an infusion of young talent on defense, an upgraded offensive line and a new offensive coordinator, the Steelers should be in position to match or even do better this year than they've done in the recent past.
Here are the games which could be complete blowouts in Pittsburgh's favor in 2012.
Week 3: Oakland Raiders
The last time the Steelers played the Oakland Raiders was in 2010, and the term blowout wouldn't do Pittsburgh's 35-3 victory over the Raiders justice. It was more of a destruction.
A lot has changed since then, and the Steelers will have to travel to the West Coast for this year's match up.
But the results could be similar.
Pittsburgh is very familiar with Carson Palmer, and they have had success against him. New OC Todd Haley knows the AFC West very well after being the head coach for the Kansas City Chiefs.
The key will be for the Steelers' defense to get to Palmer early and get into his head. He can be forced into making mistakes, and this can have a snowball effect.
Picking up a big win out west early in the year would be a nice boost for the Steelers' season.
Week 6: Tennessee Titans
Last year the Steelers pounded the Tennessee Titans 38-17, and this year could have similar results.
Though it will be a tough game, playing at LP Field on Thursday night, the Steelers had one of their best games against the Titans last year. They could use a similar formula to defeat them again.
Ben Roethlisberger was superb, playing on a sprained foot and tying a career-high with five touchdown passes.
The Steelers have historically done a good job shutting down Chris Johnson, and Matt Hasselbeck is not a quarterback who will strike fear in a defense.
Pittsburgh is the more talented team from top to bottom, and they should flex their muscles in this tough road game.
Week 10: Kansas City Chiefs
Heinz Field + Monday Night Football. That sounds like a winning combination.
Under Mike Tomlin, the Steelers are 6-1 on Monday Night Football and will look to extend that record against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Heinz Field is a tough place to play, particularly on Monday nights, and the Steelers will look to put together a more impressive performance than last season's 13-9 victory over the Tyler Palko-led Chiefs.
The key factor for this game is the presence of offensive coordinator Todd Haley.
While he will be a factor playing against all teams in the AFC West, there is no team that he will know better than the Chiefs.
Haley will know the ins-and-outs of the Chiefs' defense and will develop a game plan that can attack weaknesses that only a former head coach could know.
Anything less than a big victory would be fairly disappointing.
Week 12: Cleveland Browns
The last time the Steelers played the Cleveland Browns, it was a little too close for comfort as Pittsburgh pulled out a 13-9 win.
This year will be a different story.
The Browns will likely be starting rookie Brandon Weeden at quarterback, and the Steelers' defense likes to feast on rookie quarterbacks.
The Week 12 game will be played in Cleveland, which will mean that Weeden will not have to worry about the crowd noise (assuming Steelers' fans don't take over the stadium).
He will still have to worry about James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley.
Combine this with the expected firepower of the Steelers' offense, and this game should not be anywhere near as close as last year's contest.
Week 16: Cincinnati Bengals
The Cincinnati Bengals appear to be a team on the rise. They have a quarterback in place with Andy Dalton and a franchise receiver in A.J. Green.
Combine that with an improving defense, and the Bengals could be a force for years to come...or they could fall back this year as some of their youth gets the best of them.
Dalton will have a lot of pressure on him to improve upon his rookie performance. While he has the poise you want in a quarterback, his skill set is limited, particularly his arm strength, which could hold the Bengals back this year.
There is no doubt that Dalton did not shy from the pressure of playing the Steelers' defense last season, but that did not matter in a Steelers 35-7 win over the Bengals.
Expect another dominating win against Cincinnati as the season nears its end and the Steelers are making their final push to the playoffs.
Week 17: Cleveland Browns
Since returning to the league in 1999, the Steelers have feasted on the Browns, compiling a 23-4 record against them.
The Steelers will close their 2012 season against Cleveland, just as they did last year. While last year's game was only a 13-9 win, the two prior times the Steelers finished against the Browns were won in much more convincing fashions.
It should be expected that the Steelers destroy the Browns to close out the season.
In 2008, the Steelers shut out the Browns at Heinz Field 31-0. Two years later, they had an offensive explosion in Cleveland to win 41-9.
Of the Steelers 23 wins over the "new Browns," 14 of them have come by over 10 points. This year's regular season finale should be much better than last year's, considering the Steelers are playing at home.
Pittsburgh should once against be on their way to a playoff appearance while Cleveland is once again anxiously awaiting the offseason.
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