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NFL Pittsburgh Steelers

Pittsburgh Steelers Schedule 2014: The Playoffs are a Reality

Ben Roethlisberger Pittsburgh Steelers

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers 2014 regular season schedule has been released and it’s not hard to imagine them making the playoffs under the current circumstances.

Week 1: vs Cleveland Browns, Sunday, Sept 7 at 1:00PM Eastern

Week 2:@ Baltimore Ravens, Thursday, Sept 11 at 8:25PM Eastern

Week 3: @ Carolina Panthers, Sunday, Sept 21 at 8:30PM Eastern

Week 4: vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday, Sept 28 at 1:00PM Eastern

Week 5: @ Jacksonville Jaguars, Sunday, Oct 5 at 1:00PM Eastern

Week 6: @ Cleveland Browns, Sunday, Oct 12 at 1:00PM Eastern

Week 7: vs Houston Texans, Monday, Oct 20 at 8:30PM Eastern

Week 8: vs Indianapolis Colts, Sunday, Oct 26 at 4:25PM Eastern

Week 9: vs Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, Nov 2 at 8:30PM Eastern

Week 10: @ New York Jets, Sunday, Nov 9 at 1:00PM Eastern

Week 11: @ Tennessee Titans, Monday, Nov 17 at 8:30PM Eastern

Week 12: BYE

Week 13: vs New Orleans Saints, Sunday, Nov 30 at 1:00PM Eastern

Week 14: @ Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Dec 7 at 1:00PM Eastern

Week 15: @ Atlanta Falcons, Sunday, Dec 14 at 1:00PM Eastern

Week 16: vs Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, Dec 21 at 1:00PM Eastern

Week 17: vs Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Dec 28 at 1:00PM Eastern

The Steelers start the season at home against the Browns, a team they’ve usually played at the end of the year. This should provide a heated start to the season with a divisional game, though it’s a game the Steelers should probably win.

In Week 2, the Steelers travel to Baltimore, and if last year’s slow start was any indication, Pittsburgh could be in for a very rough Week 3 when they travel to Carolina in a tilt with the defending NFC South champions.

Weeks 4-6 should be a nice reprieve with Tampa Bay, Jacksonville and Cleveland again. These teams may get better through the draft, though not likely enough to really threaten the Steelers in these weeks.

In Weeks 7-9, the Steelers go on a nice three-game homestretch, but the competition will be fierce. An underrated Texans team will likely give the Steelers a nice challenge as well as Andrew Luck‘s Colts. Week 9, the hated Ravens come to town for NBC’s Sunday night game.

In Weeks 10 and 11, the Steelers hit the road against a Jets team that is a mystery after signing big-name free agents such as Michael Vick, Chris Johnson and Eric Decker and a Titans team that lost Johnson. Both of these games ought to be manageable wins, but without a bye week up to this point I wouldn’t be surprised to see one of these end up as a loss.

The Steelers have a bye in Week 12, which will give them ample time to prepare for a high-powered New Orleans offense that recently lost Lance Moore to Pittsburgh. This game shouldn’t be as bad as it sounds, however, because New Orleans will be traveling away from their beloved dome. Don’t be surprised to see the Steelers upend the Saints at Heinz Field.

Weeks 14 and 15, the Steelers will do battle with division rival Cincinnati and an underrated Falcons team. Both of these will be extremely tough, especially on the road. With the Falcons having a star QB and a high draft pick this year, they could very well be the best team in the NFL at this point in the season.

To wrap up the season the Steelers will stay at home against the Chiefs and the Bengals again. While not necessarily easy, the Kansas City game shouldn’t be as hard as it seems; I believe last year’s season was a bit of a fluke. A divisional game in Week 17 against the Bengals could possibly decide the AFC North; this game has the potential to be amazing.

Overall, I expect this schedule to net seven wins for the Steelers at the worst and 11-12 wins at the best. The playoffs are a very real possibility for Pittsburgh. Unfortunately, this prediction is pre-draft and half of the Steelers’ opponents for this year have one of the first 11 picks, which means that they could be far better by the time the game is played.

Alec Riffe covers the Pittsburgh Steelers for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Alecbama, like him on Facebook, or add him to your network on Google.