The Steelers 2022 Schedule was Released and It's a Doozy

Graphic obtained from Steelers.com


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Thursday was a big day for football fans as the NFL released the schedules for all 32 teams.  While the opponents had already been announced, the order and the dates of the Pittsburgh Steelers schedule was still unknown until last night.  I don't understand the hype around the schedule release considering we do already know the opponents, but it is intriguing to see what the Steelers set up will be for the 2022 season.  And after seeing what lies ahead for them this year, it's safe to say it will be tough sledding for the Steelers.

I've pinned the Steelers schedule tweet from last night below, so you can see it for yourselves.  It includes a Week 9 bye and four primetime games, including a game on Christmas Eve night.

After looking it over, surely the first thing everyone wants to do is comb through each game and determine whether it will be a win or loss.  However, I'm not here to guess what their record will be.  Everyone on every form of media, from now until the season begins, can provide you with that content.  The main thing I want to discuss is the difficulty of their schedule.

The first thing I did when seeing the Steelers' schedule was notice the top row of opponents, what will end up being the first six games of the season.  Those are six brutal games to start the season, including two divisional opponents.  (Yes, even the Jets are getting better and won't be a layup of a game.)

The reason that is significant is because the Steelers will be entering the season with a quarterback competition.  The team will have a difficult decision ahead, especially after seeing the gauntlet that is those first six games.  Seemingly, the NFL has put the people making this decision into a no-win spot.

If the Steelers decide to start quarterback Mitch Trubisky, it will make sense in the respect that they don't want to throw rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett into the fire right from the start against tough defense after tough defense.  Sending rookies into those types of situations are not only bad for the team, but also kill the player's confidence, which in turn greatly affects their playing abilities.
 
However, if the team makes this choice, they could face backlash from the fans for not starting the Pitt product.  Especially so when you consider they spent their top pick in the draft on him and he was deemed to be the most NFL-ready quarterback available.

If they choose to start Pickett, it could lead to the confidence issues I mentioned above.  But also, in doing this, the team would have to commit to him being the long-term choice because chances are that he will not produce very effective against those tough defenses.  If they were to pull him after a potential poor start in favor of Trubisky, it would only further muddy the waters and create a real issue.  The team would show they don't fully support Pickett and prove that they should never have started him to begin with, which would not go over well with fans.  It's truly a lose-lose spot for Steelers decision makers.

As for the rest of the schedule, I can't say there is truly an easy game.  It's going to be a trying season from start to finish for a team with so many new pieces on the offensive side of the ball.  NFL analytics expert Warren Sharp deemed the Steelers to have the fourth hardest schedule of all NFL teams and I can't say I disagree.  Starting with those six games and finishing the season against three potential AFC playoff teams is going to be a true test for these new-look Steelers.

While the schedule may be difficult, I'm interested to see what this next wave of Steelers football can do against the top teams in the league.  That being said, I'm not going to get my hopes up too high and I would advise you do the same.  

It's very possible this team starts 1-5 and patience will be wearing thin amongst the black and gold faithful.  However, here's to hoping they prove me wrong and start the season as one of the biggest surprises across the league.

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