NFL Pittsburgh Steelers

2013 NFL Schedule: Pittsburgh Steelers Predictions for Upcoming Season

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Predictions for 2013 Season

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers have the 21st toughest schedule in the NFL for the 2013 regular season. Last year’s disappointing 8-8 record was a result of inconsistent play and an insurmountable amount of injuries to key players.

Though the strength of schedule really doesn’t give a good indication of what a team will face for the upcoming season, looking at the full layout of the schedule can paint a clearer picture.

In addition to facing their AFC North opponents, the Steelers will also be squaring off against the AFC East and the NFC North. Last season, only one AFC East team, the New England Patriots, finished with a winning record (12-4). However, in the NFC North three of the four teams finished with at least 10 wins in the regular season.

Furthermore, Pittsburgh will face the Tennessee Titans and the Oakland Raiders to top off their 16-game schedule.

Overall, almost half of the Steelers’ games will be against teams that played in the postseason last year.

With four nationally televised games, a shortened week due to having a game on Thanksgiving night, having to trek halfway across the globe to play in London, and an early bye week, Pittsburgh will have a lot up against them this season.

Predicting a win-loss record at this point in the offseason is kind of tough, considering the fact that this is coming prior to the 2013 NFL Draft and knowing that there are still some notable free agents floating around. However, I’ll still give it a shot and give you a breakdown of how the Steelers’ 2013 season could turn out.

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Week 1: Tennessee Titans

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The Steelers get the pleasure of opening up the regular season in front of their home crowd. Pittsburgh’s run-stuffing defense, which was ranked second in the league last year, should slow down running back Chris Johnson, Tennessee’s most dangerous weapon.

Prediction: Steelers 27, Titans 17

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Week 2: @ Cincinnati Bengals (Monday Night Football)

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The Cincinnati Bengals beat out Pittsburgh for the final playoff spot last season, and their team is virtually the same from last year. With this being early in the season, the Steelers could still be finding their way as a team while Cincinnati will be still going off the momentum of last year.

Prediction: Bengals 24, Steelers 13

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Week 3: Chicago Bears (Sunday Night Football)

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Both the Steelers and the Chicago Bears were in the top five in overall defense last year. Looking at the upgrades that Chicago has made to their offense, and the losses on offense that Pittsburgh have endured this offseason, this could be one of the toughest home games of the season for the Steelers.

Prediction: Bears 20, Steelers 14

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Week 4: @ Minnesota Vikings (Wembley Stadium, London)

Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers will faceoff against the Minnesota Vikings in merry old England. Though Minnesota’s entire team may not strike fear into Pittsburgh, the drastic difference in the changing of time zones and preparation could have a huge impact on the Steelers’ performance. This trip across the pond could be a costly one in the early part of the season. However, I don’t think Vikings' running back Adrian Peterson will be able to win this game by himself.

Prediction: Steelers 23, Vikings 17

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Week 5: Bye

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Fortunately, Pittsburgh is given a bye in Week 5 after playing in London. Most teams would hate having their bye week this early in the season, but just like last year, the Steelers should benefit from this early break in the season.

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Week 6: @ New York Jets

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Still not having a trustworthy quarterback, the New York Jets may not present a problem at all for Pittsburgh coming off their bye week.

Prediction: Steelers 20, Jets 10

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Week 7: Baltimore Ravens

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens will come into town in Week 7. Just like the Steelers, the Ravens have lost key players this offseason. However, unlike Pittsburgh, Baltimore has replaced some of those key players with some top-notch talent. That just may be the determining factor in this game.

Prediction: Ravens 27, Steelers 17

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Week 8: @ Oakland Raiders

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Last season, the Steelers traveled to Oakland only to leave with a heartbreaking 34-31 loss. This time things will be different since the Raiders are now without quarterback Carson Palmer.

Prediction: Steelers 20, Raiders 13

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Week 9: @ New England Patriots

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

This could possibly be the toughest opponent Pittsburgh will face all season. New England is arguably the best team in the AFC, and should have no problem proving that on their home field.

Prediction: Patriots 34, Steelers 21

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Week 10: Buffalo Bills

Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

The Buffalo Bills shouldn’t be too much of a worry for the Steelers. Buffalo’s running game will be the only thing that will give them a fighting chance, and Pittsburgh’s run defense should put a stop to that.

Prediction: Steelers 27, Bills 10

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Week 11: Detroit Lions

Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions have revamped their offense with running back Reggie Bush to go along with All-Pro wide receiver Calvin Johnson. However, the Lions have a long way to go to improve on their 4-12 record from last season.

Prediction: Steelers 24, Lions 17

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Week 12: @ Cleveland Browns

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

In the AFC North, the Cleveland Browns have been the bottom feeders for several years. If there is one thing that the Steelers can depend on, it’s the fact that they will always have a great chance of finishing above the Browns in the division.

Prediction: Steelers 35, Browns 13

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Week 13: @ Baltimore Ravens (Thanksgiving Night)

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Pittsburgh will find themselves traveling to Baltimore to face the Ravens once again after a short week of preparation for a game on Thanksgiving night. The combination of this game being in the latter part of the season, along with a few days of practice and playing in a hostile environment could be overwhelming for any team. At this point of the season, this game could possibly make or break the playoff chances for the Steelers.

Prediction: Ravens 20, Steelers 17

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Week 14: Miami Dolphins

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Week 14 will bring a familiar face back to the Steel City. Former Steeler Mike Wallace and the Miami Dolphins will square off for what hopes to be an easy game for Pittsburgh. Of course, all of the attention in this game will be on how Wallace plays against his old teammates. This should be an unwelcomed homecoming for Wallace.

Prediction: Steelers 21, Dolphins 13

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Week 15: Cincinnati Bengals (Sunday Night Football)

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With the season coming to an end, the Steelers could be in a position to possibly win the division, and wrap up a spot in the playoffs. Playing in their last nationally televised game of the regular season, Pittsburgh can show everyone how much they have improved from last year.

Prediction: Steelers 17, Bengals 14

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Week 16: @ Green Bay Packers

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This will be the first time since Super Bowl XLV that these two teams will have squared off. And just like the games against the Patriots and the Ravens, this could be a measuring stick to see just where Pittsburgh measures up against the best talent in the league.

Prediction: Packers 34, Steelers 21

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Week 17: Cleveland Browns

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This regular-season finale should seal the deal for Pittsburgh’s postseason.

Prediction: Steelers 27, Browns 13

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Pittsburgh Steelers’ Predicted Record: 10-6

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Even though the Steelers are in arguably the toughest division in the league, Pittsburgh should still have a fighting chance at making the playoffs. However, I think that a 10-6 record will more than likely get them a wildcard spot in the postseason.

Assuming that the injury bug doesn’t bite the Steelers like it did last season, look for Pittsburgh to do just enough to stay in contention for the divisional crown.

Clyde A. Speller is an NFL writer for Follow him on Twitter @ClydeASpeller, or add him to your network on Google