The Pittsburgh Steelers had a humbling season last year. They had a few key injuries. However, the team played listless, uninspired, and not representative of returning Super Bowl champs. As I predicted, they overlooked the so-called easy teams.
Apparently, trouble plans to stick around for a while. WPXI.com reports NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell handed QB Ben Roethlisberger a 4- to 6-game conditional suspension due to violation of the NFL’s personal conduct policy. Plus Dennis Waszak Jr. reported WR Santonio Holmes, Super Bowl XLIII MVP, was traded to the New York Jets for his repeated violations of the personal conduct policy. Will the Steelers keep their composure and win football games?
The National Football League has released the 2010 Regular Season schedule on its official website. James Walker says the Steelers’ schedule is even keel with a rough patch starting in Week Eight. The Pittsburgh Channel observes the Steelers will be the most visible team in prime time.
Following is my take on the individual games:
The 2010 Schedule:
Week One: Atlanta Falcons vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
The Atlanta Falcons come to Heinz Field in week one to prove they belong with the big boys. The Pittsburgh Steelers want to prove they belong too. QB Ben Roethlisberger and WR Santonio Holmes will be absent from the festivities. Who will man up and provide the leadership the team needs?
Week Two: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Tennessee Titans
For me, this game is must see TV. There’s much history and hatred between these two teams dating to the Tennessee Titans’ Houston Oiler days. Doubtless, the Pittsburgh Steelers will have to scrap. Last season, they squeaked by the Titans in overtime at Heinz Field. QB Vince Young and RB Chris Johnson ignited a spark in their Titan teammates toward the end of the season. It won’t be easy this time around at LP Field.
Week Three: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had it rough last season. Although Head Coach Raheem Morris’ rookie season was less than stellar, Fred Goodall reports he will get a second chance to get it together. Despite all the drama, the Bucs were able to shock some teams — Green Bay, Seattle, New Orleans — and pull out victories. Hopefully, the Pittsburgh Steelers won’t get caught slipping in Raymond James Stadium.
Week Four: Baltimore Ravens vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Always a brutal battle, the Baltimore Ravens won’t give less than everything they’ve got. The Pittsburgh Steelers will have to pull out all the stops.
Week Five: BYE WEEK
The Pittsburgh Steelers get a chance to rest, rejuvenate, and ready themselves to punish the Cleveland Browns.
Week Six: Cleveland Browns vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
The Pittsburgh Steelers will show what they’re made of in this game. NFL.com has the Cleveland Browns’ Week Fourteen old fashioned butt whipping of the Steelers memorialized. Surely, Coach Mike Tomlin’s team will be motivated to return the favor when the Browns come to town.
Week Seven: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Miami Dolphins
In the offseason, the Miami Dolphins acquired one the best wide receivers in game — Brandon Marshall. Check out this NFL.com highlight clip from Week 14 2009. This dude has superb hands, gets additional yards, and is super hard to bring down. SS Troy Polamalu has to be healthy and back to his old self by week seven.
Week Eight: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. New Orleans Saints
Halloween night, the Pittsburgh Steelers will face the Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints on the road. The Steelers require a stellar performance on both sides of the ball to neutralize the Saints’ multiple mojos. This will be a tough match up in the frenzied Superdome. A win here will go a long way in boosting Steeler confidence.
Week Nine: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cincinnati Bengals
The AFC North champion Cincinnati Bengals threw the Pittsburgh Steelers’ monkey off their backs last season, winning both contests. There won’t be any sweeping this year. Monday Night Football is as good a time as any to put the Bengals back in their place.
Week Ten: New England Patriots vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Week Ten QB Tom Brady and his band of merry men come Heinz Field in search of a win. Both the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New England Patriots will be trying to carve out a stake in the postseason picture. Although Harold Bryant feels the Patriots are rebuilding, Head Coach Bill Belichick will have the AFC East champs ready. Coach Tomlin will have the Steelers prepared also. This should be a good game.
Week Eleven: Oakland Raiders vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
In Week Fourteen last season, the Oakland Raiders came to Heinz Field and handed the Pittsburgh Steelers a fourth consecutive loss. Coach Mike Tomlin will have his team ready to avenge themselves. Last year, QB Bruce Gradkowski led the Raiders. In a wicked twist of fate, Jason La Canfora reveals this time it might be Ben Roethlisberger.
Week Twelve: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Buffalo Bills
Despite the Buffalo Bills’ poor performance in 2009, the should not be summarily dismissed. Nick Mendola says New Head Coach Chan Gailey is committed to doing whatever it takes to win. Therefore, the Pittsburgh Steelers know they have to step into Ralph Wilson Stadium and roll heads.
Week Thirteen: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Baltimore Ravens
Anything can happen in this game. It will be the second meeting with the division rival Baltimore Ravens. This time on their turf. The matchup is guaranteed to be nasty. The Pittsburgh Steelers will have to elevate their game.
Week Fourteen: Cincinnati Bengals vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Week Fourteen has the Pittsburgh Steelers fighting back-to-back divisional battles. The Cincinnati Bengals come to Heinz Field to play a game that might determine the division leader.
Week Fifteen: New York Jets vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
WR Santonio Holmes returns to Heinz Field donning green and white instead the black and gold. He will be determined to embarrass the Pittsburgh Steelers for trading him to the New York Jets. This is a dangerous match up. The AFC East wildcard Jets are much improved and looking to become the AFC East champions. I won’t be missing this game for anything.
Week Sixteen: Carolina Panthers vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
The Carolina Panthers may have playing spoiler on their minds week sixteen. Securing a win in the last home game will be on the Pittsburgh Steelers’ minds.
Week Seventeen: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cleveland Browns
This contest is round two with division rival the Cleveland Browns. The Dog Pound is sure to be in full effect. The Pittsburgh Steelers will have to bring their A-game.
Cheryl Conley, Pittsburgh Steelers 2009 NFL Schedule, Associated Content
Steelers’ Roethlisberger Suspended For 6 Games, WPXI.com
Paul Newberry, Santonio Holmes Super Bowl MVP: Game-Winning Touchdown By Steelers Wide Receiver, The Huffington Post
Dennis Waszak Jr., Jets new WR Holmes suspended 4 games, Yahoo.com
2010 NFL Schedule, NFL.com
James Walker, Pittsburgh Steelers schedule analysis, ESPN.com
Steelers to Play 5 Prime Time Games in 2010, The Pittsburgh Channel
NFL Game Center: Tennessee Titans at Pittsburgh Steelers – 2009 Week 1, NFL.com
Associated Press, Titans’ Johnson runs away with Offensive Player of the Year honors, NFL.com
Fred Goodall, Morris will return as Buccaneer coach, Yahoo.com
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 2009 Schedule, NFL.com
NFL Game Center: Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns – 2009 Week 14, NFL.com
NFL Videos: WK 14: Brandon Marshall Highlights, NFL.com
Harold Bryant, Harsh reality is Patriots are rebuilding, ESPN.com
Jason La Canfora, Steelers discuss Roethlisberger deal with Raiders; Rams say no, NFL.com
Nick Mendola, Deciphering Coach-speak 101 at OBD, wgr550.com