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NFL Pittsburgh Steelers

NFL Schedule Release: The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 5 Biggest Games of 2014

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Pittsburgh Steelers: 5 Biggest Games of 2014

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When the Pittsburgh Steelers went to and won Super Bowl XLIII over the Arizona Cardinals, a pregame rallying cry of many players on that team was that any upcoming game was a five-star matchup because the Steelers were in it. Used to playing games under bright lights and in front of big audiences, Pittsburgh has five prime-time games this season. But it's in the AFC North where many of the Steelers' biggest games lie.

5. Week 1 vs. Cleveland Browns

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5. Week 1 vs. Cleveland Browns

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While the original Cleveland Browns are long since gone to Baltimore, the Steelers-Browns rivalry is still there and still matters, despite the Browns' folly in recent years. With a new coach, a new quarterback and what should be a very good new defense, the Browns will come to Heinz Field in Week 1 trying to make a statement. Pittsburgh stumbled in its opener last season vs. Tennessee and it set the tone for the season.

4. Week 8 vs. Indianapolis Colts

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4. Week 8 vs. Indianapolis Colts

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Colts quarterback Andrew Luck vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers' defense is an intriguing matchup that also will have an effect on AFC tiebreakers come playoff time if both these teams find themselves in Wild Card races. The Steelers defense will be challenged by Luck and super-fast wide receiver T.Y. Hilton, while the Colts' defense will be looking to make a name for itself against Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and the Pittsburgh offense.

3. Week 16 vs Kansas City Chiefs

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3. Week 16 vs Kansas City Chiefs

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Pittsburgh and Kansas City have been involved in close games in each of the last three meetings, with two games (in 2009 and 2012) going to overtime. The teams split those games, with Pittsburgh winning the third -- a boring 13-9 affair in 2011. Kansas City hasn't won in Pittsburgh since 1986. Also, it was the Chiefs' loss to San Diego in Week 17 last season that ended up costing the Steelers a playoff berth. All sorts of intrigue in this one.

2. Week 2 at Baltimore Ravens

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2. Week 2 at Baltimore Ravens

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As physical as games between the Steelers and Ravens typically are, the teams having to play each other with just three days of rest is ridiculous. But that's what the NFL has in store for fans in Week 2, when Pittsburgh comes to Baltimore for a Thursday night game. Both teams will have played a third of their division schedules in the first five days of the season. The teams have split the last six meetings in Baltimore.

1. Week 17 vs. Cincinnati Bengals

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1. Week 17 vs. Cincinnati Bengals

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Why is this game bigger than the aforementioned contest vs. the Ravens? Because this Pittsburgh-Cincinnati is the final game of the season, sure to have playoff implications for both teams and may even decide the AFC North. One of the Steelers' best performances in last year's 8-8 campaign came in a 30-20 home win vs. Cincinnati. Pittsburgh is 29-15 all-time at home vs. the Bengals, who never lack for confidence or swagger, even at Heinz Field.