It is Sunday morning, so why not kick things off with one big counterpoint to all of the recent optimism surrounding the 2024 Pittsburgh Steelers. It is easy to look at a 10-7 record and a playoff appearance in the 2023 season and think that improving upon that record is a no-brainer with a new offensive system, two upgrades at quarterback, and not many players departed in free agency. But it is important to consider the strength of schedule that the team faced in 2023.

According to a list compiled by John Breech of CBS Sports prior to last season, the Steelers had the eighth easiest strength of schedule in the NFL with .470 combined winning percentage of opponents. Strength of schedule isn’t a perfect indication of things. For example, the Houston Texans were a 3-13-1 team in 2022 before winning their division with a 10-7 record last season.

On the other end of things, teams that had good 2022 records were lesser teams by the time the Steelers faced them. The Tennessee Titans, Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals (twice), New England Patriots, Indianapolis Colts, and Baltimore Ravens all started a backup quarterback against the Steelers. So seven games against backup quarterbacks in an already easy strength of schedule.

The 2024 season is on the other end of the spectrum. Part of that is the AFC North performing well as a division overall last year. Every team was above .500, and with six games against the division, that drags up the average.

They will face the entire AFC West which includes the Super Bowl-winning Kansas City Chiefs. They will also play against the NFC East, which includes the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles who were highly competitive last season.

The Steelers strength of schedule in 2024 is the third-hardest in the NFL at .533 combined winning percentage of opponents. Here is the Steelers full list of 2024 opponents.

Team Strength Of Schedule SoS Rank
Cleveland Browns 0.547 1
Baltimore Ravens 0.536 2
Pittsburgh Steelers 0.533 3
Houston Texans 0.526 4
Green Bay Packers 0.526 5
Buffalo Bills 0.515 6
New York Giants 0.515 7
Jacksonville Jaguars 0.512 8
Las Vegas Raiders 0.512 9
New England Patriots 0.512 10
Detroit Lions 0.509 11
Los Angeles Rams 0.505 12
Dallas Cowboys 0.505 13
New York Jets 0.505 14
San Francisco 49ers 0.505 15
Cincinnati Bengals 0.502 16
Kansas City Chiefs 0.502 17
Washington Commanders 0.502 18
Minnesota Vikings 0.502 19
Denver Broncos 0.495 20
Indianapolis Colts 0.491 21
Philadelphia Eagles 0.491 22
Tennessee Titans 0.491 23
Seattle Seahawks 0.488 24
Arizona Cardinals 0.488 25
Miami Dolphins 0.488 26
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 0.478 27
Los Angeles Chargers 0.478 28
Carolina Panthers 0.467 29
Chicago Bears 0.467 30
New Orleans Saints 0.453 31
Atlanta Falcons 0.453 32

The quarterbacks that the Steelers will face include Joe Burrow (twice), Lamar Jackson (twice), Deshaun Watson (twice), Kirk Cousins, Patrick Mahomes, Justin Herbert, Dak Prescott, Aaron Rodgers, Jalen Hurts, and Anthony Richardson. They also have the potential to face some of the top rookie QBs with the Denver Broncos and Washington Commanders likely to draft one early on.

Things can and will change along the way, and the draft has yet to happen which will shift the landscape of the league, but as it stands right now, the Steelers have a tough road ahead, and improving upon 10 wins is not a given.


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