The release of the Steelers schedule held more importance this year than year's past. For all the hoopla, the NFL schedule release means very little. We already knew all of the team's opponents. Heck, we know 14 of the 16 opponents the Steelers will face in 2011 (if there isn't a lockout). The only new information is date and time.
But with the impending suspension of Big Ben, the date and time of games is more important than ever. ESPN is reporting the suspension will be 4-6 games. The first four games for the Steelers will be Atlanta, at Tennessee, at Tampa Bay and Baltimore. Three of the four teams missed the playoffs last year, but Atlanta and Tennessee are good teams that have the potential to bounce back after making the playoffs in 2008. Tampa Bay is still re-building. And the game against Baltimore is one of the most important of the season. Week 5 is the team's bye. Week 6 brings a matchup against Cleveland
Overall, it's not too bad. It could have been worse. We could have played Baltimore, Cincinnati. New Orleans and New England. The week 5 bye could be fortuitous if Ben's suspension is five or six games. But, it's no cakewalk either. Atlanta, Tennessee, and Baltimore are good teams.
I wouldn't complain too much about a 2-2 start.
Here is the schedule in its entirety:
Sept. 12 vs. Atlanta, 1 p.m. ET
Sept. 19 at Tennessee, 1 p.m. ET
Sept. 26 at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m. ET
Oct. 3 vs. Baltimore, 1 p.m. ET
Oct. 10 Bye
Oct. 17 vs. Cleveland, 1 p.m. ET
Oct. 24 at Miami, 1 p.m. ET
Oct. 31 at New Orleans, 8:20 p.m. ET (Sunday Night)
Nov. 8 at Cincinnati, 8:30 p.m. ET (Monday Night)
Nov. 14 vs. New England, 8:20 p.m. ET (Sunday Night)
Nov. 21 vs. Oakland, 1 p.m. ET
Nov. 28 at Buffalo, 1 p.m. ET
Dec. 5 at Baltimore, 8:20 p.m. ET (Sunday Night)
Dec. 12 vs. Cincinnati, 1 p.m. ET
Dec. 19 vs. NY Jets, 4:15 p.m. ET
Dec. 23 vs. Carolina, 8:20 p.m. ET (Thursday night)
Jan. 2 at Cleveland, 1 p.m. ET