Tim Benz: Six packets of thoughts on the Steelers' calendar for 2019

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Here is a pack of six reflections after a quick look at the 2019 Steelers calendar.

1. again? Really?

The NFL is making the Steelers open in Foxborough, Mbadachusetts, for "Sunday Night Football" on September 8.

On the night of the banner.

Have not we suffered enough?

That happened in 2002 to open Gillette Stadium after the first victory of Tom Brady-Bill Belichick in the Super Bowl. New England rolled 30-14.

It happened again in September 2015, after the Patriots defeated the Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX. New England was victorious, 28-21, in a game that was not as close as indicated by the final score.

Now this.

Why not make the Patriots open against the Chiefs at home? Is not that a more interesting watch anyway? Kansas City opens on the road in Jacksonville at 1 p.m. on that Sunday


2. Le'V afternoon

What did the creators of schedules think here?

The Steelers do not play against the Le'Veon Bell Jets until week 16. By then, Bell and James Conner could be injured.

According to records, Bell's plot against the Steelers may be a forgotten story. And he is buried at 1 p.m. Sunday, December 22nd.

You could flex if the confrontation matters late, I suppose. But what a swing and miss. This feels tailored to prime time in Week 1, after two seasons of exaggeration by Bell-vs.-the-Steelers off the field.

The executives of the network must be hating this lost loss.

3. Early and often

The Steelers have their five regular games in primetime. They are all loaded in the first 11 weeks.

The final game of the club in primetime is the issue of Thursday night against the Browns in Week 11.

That was a smart move for network audiences. The Steelers have a large number of national supporters. But they are coming out of a campaign without playoffs, and they have a lot of holes in their list. Therefore, in a season in which they could support their first year sub-.500 in the era of Ben Roethlisberger, the thought seems to be at stake in as many primetime games as possible before 2019 can get out of the track and get caught in the playoff contest.

In that way, the television types of the league have covered their bets and have maximized their audiences in one of their most profitable teams in what could be one of their least bankable seasons in recent memory.

What if the Steelers end up being good anyway? Cool! They will give you good television numbers at the end of the season during normal Sunday windows against Arizona and Buffalo.

4. The autumn wind.

The Steelers need to make waves from the end of October to the beginning of November. They have three home games in a row against the Dolphins, Colts and Rams between October 28 and November 10.

Two of those games are against playoff teams last year. A total of five divisional games precede, and continue, that section.

So this will be the most revealing strip of the 2019 calendar.

5. Ohio trifecta

After that pack of three at Heinz Field, the Steelers play in a row against the Browns (Thursday, November 14) and the Bengals in Ohio. Then Cleveland arrives in Pittsburgh on December 1. Therefore, the team will hardly have to travel for six weeks (seven, actually, since the rest week is prior to the Miami game).

If the Browns are as good as people think they will be, and the Bengals are as bad as people think they will be, these divisional races can make or break any thinking the organization has about the recovery of the AFC North.

6. Width bunk

The rivalry between the Steelers and the Ravens will be extended this season. The two enemies of the AFC North collide in Week 5 at Heinz Field. They will not meet until the last game of the season on December 29.

If the story says something, that final game will mean something meaningful to at least one of the teams, if not both. And both will potentially look very different from how the 2019 season began.

Tim Benz is a writer of Tribune-Review. You can contact Tim at [email protected] or through Twitter. All tweets can be republished. All emails are subject to publication unless otherwise specified.


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