2021 Pittsburgh Steelers Schedule: Full Listing of Dates, Times and TV InfoMay 12, 2021
Ben Roethlisberger, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Tyson Alualu took less money to ensure they would return to Pittsburgh in 2021, but the Steelers will have a new look heading into next season after parting ways with several notable faces because of cap constraints.
Out are James Conner, Bud Dupree and Alejandro Villanueva, all of whom decided to seek options elsewhere or were not pursued heavily by the Steelers in free agency. They also lost longtime center Maurkice Pouncey to retirement.
Pittsburgh focused on immediate-impact talent in the draft, selecting running back Najee Harris in the first round before adding tight end Pat Friermuth and guard Kendrick Green in Day 2.
The Steelers enter the 2021 season coming off a 12-4 regular season that ended in postseason defeat at the hands of the Browns. With Cleveland and Baltimore both looking to return to the playoffs, Pittsburgh will have its work cut out in football's toughest division.
Here's a look at what to expect after Wednesday's schedule release.
2021 Pittsburgh Steelers Schedule
TV info can be found here.
The Steelers will face one of the NFL's toughest schedules, simply as a byproduct of playing in the AFC North and playing a division winner's slate. They will travel to games in Green Bay, Kansas City and Buffalo, to go along with home tilts against Seattle and Tennessee. All told, nine of their 17 games will come against teams that made the playoffs in 2020.
Their home schedule is far more forgiving; games against the Bears, Lions, Broncos and Raiders can almost certainly be written as borderline lock victories.
By contrast, Pittsburgh is an on-paper underdog in at least five road games. The Bengals, Chargers and Vikings also have playoff aspirations and will host the Steelers; there may be no team in football with a harder road slate.
The biggest question is whether the Steelers' recent talent drain will finally catch up this season. Roethlisberger looked every bit his age at certain points in 2020, with the team scheming around the 39-year-old's limitations throwing the ball down the field.
If the Steelers can do the same thing next season, they'll remain in playoff contention. But playing a first-place schedule will present an entirely different challenge to the second-place schedule they played in 2020.
Getting things done at home will be paramount to the Steelers making the playoffs in 2020. An absolute best-case scenario would have them at 4-4 in road contests. They're more likely looking at a 3-5 hole to dig themselves from.
The Steelers get nine home games in the new 17-game slate this season, so an 8-1 or 7-2 record would almost certainly clinch them a playoff spot. We've already chalked up four non-divisional games as wins, and the Cincinnati Bengals are probably a year away from reasonably competing for the playoffs, so that's five.
In other words: The Steelers need to go 2-2 at home against the Ravens, Browns, Seahawks and Titans while taking care of business in games where they're stronger favorites, and then they'll make the playoffs.
If Roethlisberger gets hurt for a few weeks at a bad time—he's played a full season once in six years—this could spiral into a six- or seven-win team fast.