The second best night of the NFL offseason is here. Schedules are being dropped on Thursday night, and my oh my do I like the Steelers slate...on paper.
Primetime at home on Thanksgiving night against the Ravens. Love it. A lot of home games early. Love it. Bye week later in the season. Love it.
A lot of good things, again, on paper here.
Let's take a look. Here's what I'm predicting for the 2020 Steelers record:
Week 1: At New York Giants, 7:15
If there is a way to start a season in primetime on the road, I think this is it. It's the early, kind of sleepy first game of the annual Monday Night Football doubleheader. No better way for Big Ben to bounce back and start his revenge tour than in the Big Apple. Put the league on notice from Week 1.
Prediction: 27-16 Steelers
Record: 1 - 0
Week 2: vs. Denver Broncos, 1:00
Finally we don't have to go to fucking Denver. It's a toss up between there and Oakland (RIP) as my least two favorite places to play on the road. Always a shit show whenever the Steelers head out there. Drew Lock has a lot of shiny new toys via the draft and free agency from this offseason, but he still doesn't scare me enough to beat the Steelers D in their home opener. Big Ben goes off in his triumphant return to Heinz as well.
Prediction: 34 - 17 Steelers
Record: 2 - 0
Week 3: vs. Houston Texans, 1:00
Deshaun Watson may not survive this one. It's a bad spot for a guy with no protection to face TJ Watt, Bud Dupree, and Cam Heyward on their home turf. No DeAndre Hopkins will help all of us sleep better at night, too. Neutralize JJ (if he's not a Steeler by then), and the Steelers are looking at a clean 3-0 to start the year. Buuut Watson's superman in him makes a couple crazy plays down the stretch to keep this one close.
Prediction: 28-24 Steelers
Record: 3 - 0
Week 4: at Tennessee Titans, 1:00
This has ugly written all over it imo. Steelers always have a couple absolute DUDS on the road, and this very well could be it. It'll be hot. It'll be humid. Derrick Henry will pound the rock, and Big Ben will throw at least two interceptions. Even though the stadium will be at least half full of Steelers fans, they'll all be incredibly hungover after a night on Broadway and they'll leave Sunday disappointed, too.
Prediction: 24-20 Titans
Record: 3 - 1
Week 5: vs. Philadelphia Eagles, 1:00
The Steelers better have payback on their mind from the 2016 thrashing they took at Lincoln in 2016. That was just an absolutely brutal game, and Coach T better throw on the tape of it just to remind them of what's at stake here. This one will be really, really good. Surprised it's not at least 4:25 or primetime because this is a great rivalry with a lot of stars on the field, but people in Pittsburgh won't complain about a 1:00 p.m. kick. Think the Steelers will get the best of Carson Wentz in his first Heinz Field experience.
Prediction: 27-23 Steelers
Record: 4 - 1
Week 6: vs. Cleveland Browns, 1:00
Browns at Heinz Field. Enough said. W.
Prediction: 30-17 Steelers
Record: 5 - 1
Week 7: at Baltimore Ravens, 1:00
Lamar. Ingram. JK. At home. Too much to handle here in back to back weeks of "AFC North football".
Prediction: 28-21 Ravens
Record: 5 - 2
Week 8: BYE
Week 9: at Dallas Cowboys, 4:25
Coming off of the bye for this one will definitely help, but Big Ben has been horrible coming off of bye weeks especially in the latter half of his career. I expect rust from him and the offense with the defense giving up one or two big plays to Zeke, Coop, or CeeDee that bite them in the end. Back to back losses.
Prediction: 27-23 Cowboys
Record: 5 - 3
Week 10: vs. Cincinnati Bengals, 1:00
Bengals and Joe Burrow come to Heinz Field at a perfect time after losing to Dallas in an annoying fashion. TJ and Bud are too much for Joey B in his first trip to Pittsburgh, and Big Ben gets back on track with JuJu having a huge game.
Prediction: 34-13 Steelers
Record: 6 - 3
Week 11: at Jacksonville Jaguars, 1:00
Definitely not the Jaguars of 2017 - hell not even the Jaguars of 2018. Could see the heat, Big Ben bullshit getting in the way to give us an early scare, but top to bottom this Jaguars team is just no where near the Steelers. Good guys win in a sloppy one.
Prediction: 17-13 Steelers
Record: 7 - 3
Week 12: vs. Baltimore Ravens, 8:20
This gets me fuckin' JACKED UP already. The Christmas night game against Baltimore in 2016 was obviously legendary, but Thanksgiving night could be even better. A much needed rowdy Heinz Field primetime crowd juices up the defense enough to make Lamar's night hell finally, and the Steelers turn some heads on national tv.
Prediction: 30-21 Steelers
Record: 8 - 3
Week 13: vs. Washington Redskins, 1:00
A well-placed comedown game after an emotional and big win on Thanksgiving night over the Ravens. Think it will be a slow start here with the Redskins honestly probably having an early lead in the first half. But Haskins throws a couple picks in the second half and the Steelers convert. Chase Young sacks Big Ben twice and the second one has him limping...uh oh.
Prediction: 27-16 Steelers
Record: 9 - 3
Week 14: at Buffalo Bills, 8:20
Bills Mafia will be rocking. But I'm telling you - I know for a fact the Steelers haven't forgotten about that SNF heartbreaker that Buffalo handed to them at Heinz Field that bumped them out of the playoffs last year. Big Ben will throw a couple picks, but James Conner will have a huge night on the ground to eat clock and take it out of Big Ben's hands then James Washington will make a big catch down the stretch to lock up a tight, much-needed win.
Prediction: 17-13 Steelers
Record: 10 - 3
Week 15: at Cincinnati Bengals, 8:15
Back-to-back primetime games for the boys late in the season, but a rivalry matchup against a rookie quarterback with playoff seeding on the line is more than enough motivation to get the job done. Joe Burrow plays better than he did in his first matchup with the Steelers. He throws three touchdowns, but Big Ben owns Ohio and gets another win here.
Prediction: 24-21 Steelers
Record: 11 - 3
Week 16: vs. Indianapolis Colts, 1:00
The home finale for the Steelers wraps up a hell of a bounce back season and some that people build up could be Big Ben's final game at Heinz Field, which I'm sure our guy will play into. It'll be cold. It'll be shitty out. Philip Rivers will throw a fit and the Steelers will dominate the Colts yet again. An annual tradition.
Prediction: 27-17 Steelers
Record: 12 - 3
Week 17: at Cleveland Browns, 1:00
Don't put the backups in for this one if you're Pittsburgh. Don't think Mason Rudolph will come out of it alive. It's the Browns Super Bowl, and the Steelers could very well be playing for playoff seeding, but Pittsburgh will already have clinched a playoff spot and one last shitty performance on the road is waiting for them. Baker will do his thing, throw a couple TDs, show off his "swagger" right into the offseason without the playoffs BUT he's beaten the Steelers twice.
Prediction: 24-17 Browns
Record: 12 - 4
It's pretty simple, folks. Big Ben healthy = the Steelers have a good to great year. That's it. They were 8-8 last year with mostly an undrafted rookie free agent playing quarterback. The defense is a Steelers defense again. The offense is young with playmakers. Like so often in the NFL, health is all that's going to matter for this year's Steelers.
Here We Go.