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Analyst Thinks Late-Season AFC North Games Benefits Steelers

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Pittsburgh Steelers HC Mike Tomlin Baltimore Ravens Head coach John Harbaugh

The Pittsburgh Steelers have a brutal schedule down the stretch in 2024, as they have eight straight games against teams expected to have winning records, 6-of-8 expected to win over 10 games. On paper, it’s the hardest final eight games in the NFL, according to Warren Sharp of Sharp Football. All six of their AFC North divisional games come in that span, too.

The Steelers’ first AFC North game is in Week 11 on Nov. 17 against the Baltimore Ravens at Acrisure Stadium. That is the latest they have faced a division opponent for the first time since the 1970 merger.

It’s definitely an oddity in the Steelers’ 2024 schedule, but Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk thinks the late-season division games could benefit Pittsburgh.

“I think it’s better that way. You could have banged-up quarterbacks on the opponents, and you have a brand new offense,” Florio said during an appearance with The PM Team on 93.7 The Fan Wednesday. “It’s going to be fine-tuned, in theory, it’s going to be honed in theory. Justin Fields or Russell Wilson, whoever the quarterback is, is gonna be operating at a higher level of comfort. When you’re the team who’s making the most dramatic change, I think it’s better to get those games later.”

Florio makes a good point that the Steelers could see some backup quarterbacks due to injuries in that stretch. The Steelers faced six backup quarterbacks in their final eight games in 2023. They went 3-3 in those games, however.

The Steelers have the third-toughest strength of schedule in 2024. However, based on forecasted win totals, the Steelers have the toughest schedule this upcoming season, according to Warren Sharp of Sharp Football.

“It’s probably not exactly how I would have drawn it up, but we’ve got to do the best we can,” Steelers president Art Rooney II said in regards to the schedule to Dale Lolley of Steelers.com. “On the positive side, we’ve got some high-profile, marquee games with the Cowboys and the Chiefs on Christmas Day, a couple of other prime time games. We’ll be playing in front of a big audience most of the time, which is a good thing. A lot of the division games are at the end of the schedule, so it will be an interesting stretch there toward the end.”

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Edward Carmichael
Edward Carmichael
May 16, 2024 9:57 am

as a true Steelers the only way the late games going up against the division rivals is if the Steelers are still healthy and everybody else in the division is banged up