Steelers reporter Jeremy Fowler is predicting a 9-7 finish:
Sept. 8: at New England, Loss
Sept. 15: vs. Seattle, Win
Sept. 22: at San Francisco, Win
Sept. 30: vs. Cincinnati, Win
Oct. 6: vs. Baltimore, Loss
Oct. 13: at L.A. Chargers, Loss
Oct. 28: vs. Miami, Win
Nov. 3: vs. Indianapolis, Loss
Nov. 10: vs. L.A. Rams, Win
Nov. 17: at Cleveland, Win
Nov. 24: at Cincinnati, Loss
Dec. 1: vs. Cleveland, Loss
Dec. 8: at Arizona, Win
Dec. 15: vs. Buffalo, Win
Dec. 22: At N.Y. Jets, Win
Dec. 29: at Baltimore, Loss
Strength of schedule: .496 (T-14)
For the fifth consecutive year, the Steelers open up the season away from Heinz Field, including their third prime-time road opener in the past five years. Pittsburgh will enter that opener coming off two straight preseason road games. On the back end, the Steelers will end the regular season with back-to-back road games for the first time since 2015. The trip to New York will be especially sweet, with former Steelers tailback Le'Veon Bell waiting in Jets green. But the NFL gave the Steelers quite the midseason break with a Week 7 bye, followed by three straight home games against the Dolphins, Colts and Rams. The Steelers will go 32 days between road games with that setup. Though success doesn't carry over from year to year, it should be noted that six of the Steelers' opponents posted at least 10 wins last season. Four of the Steelers' last seven games will come against divisional opponents.
The Steelers and Patriots are tied for the most Super Bowls in NFL history with six apiece, which must make it painful for Pittsburgh to watch New England celebrate its Super Bowl 53 victory on opening night. The Patriots and Steelers open the season on "Sunday Night Football" in Foxborough, Massachusetts, where Pittsburgh hasn't won with Tom Brady in the lineup (0-5). Pittsburgh's last showing in New England was a lopsided 36-17 loss in the 2017 AFC title game. But the Steelers gained confidence with a 17-10 win over New England in Heinz Field last season, and they will be eager to start hot in Gillette Stadium -- especially with Steelers killer Rob Gronkowski out of the lineup.
The Steelers have become a fixture on the prime-time schedule, and 2018 is no different with five appearances, including two Monday Night Football matchups. The loss of Bell and Antonio Brown didn't sway the networks from selecting Pittsburgh, which gets two "Sunday Night Football" games in the first six weeks. The Steelers are usually an easy call because they win games, have a loyal fan base and heighten drama. And they could add prime-time games if networks flex them late in the year. But with the Cleveland Browns serving as the trendy pick in the AFC North, the Steelers must earn their billing. The Steelers and Ravens are set to break a 12-year streak of prime-time games against against each other.