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NFL Pittsburgh Steelers

5 Games That Will Define the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2014 Season

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Pittsburgh Steelers 2014 Schedule: 5 Games That Will Define Season

Mike Tomlin Pittsburgh Steelers
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The Pittsburgh Steelers are coming off of two straight 8-8 seasons, neither resulting in a playoff berth. That is unacceptable for the Steelers, and this season will be crucial for the coaching staff and front office. These are the five games that will help define how this season will turn out for the Steelers.

5. Week 8 vs. Indianapolis Colts

Andrew Luck Indianapolis Colts
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5. Week 8 vs. Indianapolis Colts

Andrew Luck Indianapolis Colts
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The Steelers will be at home when they get to face the Colts in Week 8. The Colts are a young team that is continuing to improve year after year, especially star QB Andrew Luck. The Colts were a playoff team the past two seasons and won a few games once they got there, so if the Steelers can beat this improving Colts team, or at least hang with them, it will go a long way in proving they are a playoff caliber team.

4. Week 15 at Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta Falcons Matt Ryan
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4. Week 15 at Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta Falcons Matt Ryan
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The Steelers' biggest weakness last season was their secondary. They gave up a ton of yards and points through the air, and the Atlanta Falcons have one of the most high-powered passing attacks in the NFL. Though many people will most likely know where the Steelers sit in the playoff picture when they head to Atlanta in Week 15, this game with the Falcons should define how well their secondary has, or has not, improved.

3. Week 13 vs. New Orleans Saints

Sean Payton New Orleans Saints
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3. Week 13 vs. New Orleans Saints

Sean Payton New Orleans Saints
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Much like the Falcons, the Saints have an impressive aerial attack the Steelers will have to deal with. But unlike the Falcons, the Saints have a top tier defense as well. The Steelers will have to contend with the balanced Saints in a week where teams will be pulling away from the pack in terms of the playoffs. The Saints may be the best overall team the Steelers will face all year and how they perform will say a lot about their season.

2. Week 2 at Baltimore Ravens

Baltimore Ravens John Harbaugh
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2. Week 2 at Baltimore Ravens

Baltimore Ravens John Harbaugh
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The Steelers had an awful start to their season last year, and that is what ultimately cost them a chance to make the playoffs. That must change this season, but it won't be easy facing their biggest rival, the Baltimore Ravens, on Thursday Night Football in Week 2. The Ravens always play the Steelers, tough and with the team playing on short rest in their rival's back yard, this early game could define the whole season for the Steelers.

1. Week 9 vs. Baltimore Ravens

Baltimore Ravens Joe Flacco
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1. Week 9 vs. Baltimore Ravens

Baltimore Ravens Joe Flacco
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The Steelers will face the Ravens on Sunday Night Football after facing the Indianapolis Colts the week before. If the Steelers lose that game, they will have to beat their rivals in Week 9. And if the Ravens are able to beat the Steelers in their first meeting, this game could decide the division at the end of the season. This game looks to be the most important on the schedule, and it could define the Steelers' entire season.

Justin Broyles is a Pirates writer for RantSports.com.  Follow him on twitter @Tweets_ByJ, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.