The Pittsburgh Steelers
played the NFL’s toughest schedule
this season. They may play one of the league’s weakest schedules
The Steelers’ 2009 schedule was firmed up Sunday after Miami
(11-5) won the AFC East over New England (11-5) because of tiebreakers.
If the Patriots had won the division, the Steelers would have played
at New England for the third consecutive season in 2009.
The Steelers will play only three winning-record teams at home next
season: Baltimore, Minnesota and Tennessee. Also visiting Pittsburgh
will be AFC North rivals Cincinnati and Cleveland, plus Oakland,
San Diego and Green Bay.
On the road, the Steelers will play their three division opponents,
plus Denver, Kansas City, Chicago, Detroit and Miami.
The Steelers’ schedule was unusually difficult this season
because they met all teams in the NFC East and AFC South, two of
the league’s strongest divisions. In their place next season
will be the AFC West and NFC Central, two of the weakest divisions
this season. The AFC West did not have a single above-.500 team.
As a result, the Steelers will meet both the Lions (0-16) and Chiefs
(2-14) — which, for now, appears to be a significant downgrade
from a 2008 schedule that included the Giants (12-4), Colts (12-4),
Patriots (11-5) and Eagles (9-6-1).
The Steelers played 11 games this season — counting two against
Baltimore — against teams that won eight or more games. They
played only one game outside their division against a losing record
team, Jacksonville. Eight of their 16 games were against playoff
teams, plus New England, which didn’t make the postseason despite
Only five teams that had winning records this season are on the
Steelers’ 2009 schedule.
Despite their tough schedule, the Steelers (12-4) won 12 games or
more for only the fourth time since 1979.
Pittsburgh Steelers Maul Cleveland Browns in Season Finale