The big waves of free agency are over. NFL season. As always, there is a lot of interest surrounding Mike Tomlin's Pittsburgh Steelers, who are hoping to have a big 2023 after consecutive nine-win seasons.. Now, all eyes are on the upcoming
There are several reasons to believe that the black and gold will be in the AFC playoff mix this season. For starters, the Steelers will play a third-place schedule for the first time since 2012. Opponents aside, the Steelers possess one of the NFL's tougher defenses and a young offense that should be vastly better than it was a year ago, led by second-year quarterback Kenny Pickett.
Pittsburgh added to an already solid roster during the offseason. The Steelers used free agency to address their needs at inside linebacker and on the interior of the offensive line. In the draft, the Steelers kicked things off by trading up to select former Georgia offensive tackle Broderick Jones. They then selected former Penn State cornerback Joey Porter Jr. with the 32nd overall pick. Jones and Porter headline what has been hailed as a strong draft for Steelers GM Omar Khan and assistant GM Andy Weidl.
Before embarking on a possible playoff run, the Steelers will first have to get through their 17-game regular season. Here's a complete breakdown of Pittsburgh's 2023 schedule and the opponents it will face. For the first time since 2014, the Steelers will open the season at home. They'll have four prime-time games that includes two "Thursday Night Football" matchups. Week 6 will be the Steelers' bye week.
Steelers 2023 schedule
|Sept. 10||1 p.m.||Fox|
|Sept. 18||8:15 p.m.||ABC|
at Raiders (SNF)
|Sept. 24||8:20 p.m.||NBC|
|Oct. 1||1 p.m.||CBS|
|Oct. 8||1 p.m.||CBS|
|Oct. 22||4:05 p.m.||Fox|
|Oct. 29||1 p.m.||CBS|
|Nov. 2 ||8:15 p.m.||Prime Video|
|Nov. 12||1 p.m.||CBS|
|Nov. 19||1 p.m.||CBS|
|Nov. 26||1 p.m.||CBS|
|Dec. 3||1 p.m.||CBS|
|Dec. 7||8:15 p.m.||Amazon|
|Dec. 23 ||4:30 p.m.||NBC|
|Dec. 31||4:05 p.m.||Fox|
|Jan. 6 or 7||TBD||TBD|
Steelers 2023 opponents
Baltimore Ravens: Pittsburgh is 5-1 against its main rival since the start of the 2020 season. The Steelers are 2-1 all-time against Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, with Jackson's lone win over Pittsburgh taking place back in 2019. Jackson, who recently signed a long-term deal with Baltimore, will have a deeper receiver corps this season than at any previous point in his career, led by tight end Mark Andrews and wideouts Odell Beckham Jr., Rashod Bateman and rookie Zay Flowers.
Cincinnati Bengals: The Steelers split last year's season series against Cincinnati after they were broomed by the Bengals in 2021. Rest assured, Pickett will look to test the Bengals' revamped secondary that lost three starters during the offseason, most notably free safety Jessie Bates III. On offense, the Bengals only got better this offseason with the addition of three-time left tackle Orlando Brown Jr.
Cleveland Browns: Pittsburgh split with its historic rival last season after sweeping them in 2021. The Browns used running back Nick Chubb to outlast the Steelers in their first matchup of the 2022 season. In Week 18, the Steelers exacted a measure of payback while sacking Deshaun Watson (who was suspended during Cleveland's Week 3 win over Pittsburgh) seven times and intercepting him twice.
Arizona Cardinals: Arizona limped through a 4-13 season a year ago. The Cardinals switched coaches this offseason after hiring former Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon. This game will be a homecoming for James Conner, a standout at Pitt who was named to his first Pro Bowl as a member of the Steelers. Conner is part of a solid Cardinals offense that also features quarterback Kyler Murray, wideouts Deandre Hopkins, Marquise Brown and Rondale Moore, and tight end Zach Ertz.
Green Bay Packers: Pittsburgh will get its first look at the Packers with Jordan Love under center. Love may not be Aaron Rodgers, but he will have some pretty good weapons to work with next season in running backs Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon; wideouts Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs and rookie Jayden Reed; and rookie tight ends Luke Musgrave and Tucker Kraft. Defensively, the Packers were stout against the pass last year but were near the bottom of the league against the run.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Several Steelers fans just cringed when they saw this team on the schedule. The Jaguars, after all, upset Tomlin's first team in the 2007 playoffs and a decade later handed Pittsburgh one of its all-time worst playoff losses. History aside, this should be a fun matchup between two teams that won nine games last year. The Steelers will have their hands full against Trevor Lawrence, but Jacksonville's defense is no picnic, either, led by linebacker Josh Allen.
New England Patriots: On paper, the Steelers have the superior team. But given the Steelers' 4-13 record against Bill Belichick-led Patriots teams, no one in Pittsburgh is crossing this game off as a win. That being said, the Steelers should be able to take care of business this time around after several self-inflicted wounds allowed New England to leave Pittsburgh with a 17-14 win last season.
San Francisco 49ers: Coming off consecutive NFC Championship Game appearances, the 49ers should be in the mix once again in 2023. But who will be the starting quarterback when the 49ers come into Pittsburgh? Trey Lance and Brock Purdy are still recovering from injuries. Sam Darnold, the team's third quarterback, played well in a losing effort against the Steelers as Carolina's quarterback late in the 2022 season. Quarterback aside, this should be a good test for the Steelers, as the 49ers possess some of the NFL's best players in Deebo Samuel, Christian McCaffrey, Trent Williams, George Kittle, Fred Warner, Nick Bosa and former Steeler Javon Hargrave.
Tennessee Titans: It's hard to figure out what type of team the Titans will be in 2023. Mike Vrabel's squad is no doubt going through a transition, but the Titans still have one of the league's best players in running back Derrick Henry. Vrabel has a history of doing more with less, so this game could be an interesting one if the Steelers allow the Titans to hang around.
Away (not including AFC North opponents)
Houston Texans: The Texans, led by first-year head coach DeMeco Ryans, should be vastly better in 2023 than they have been in recent years. This offseason, Ryans and Co. have put together a roster that has a nice blend of young and veteran players. Pittsburgh's defense will be going up against C.J. Stroud, the No. 2 overall pick who set numerous records during his two years as Ohio State's starting quarterback.
Indianapolis Colts: Pittsburgh heads back to Indianapolis a year after edging the Colts in the Hoosier State on "Monday Night Football." This will be the Steelers' first look at rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson, who scored 29 total touchdowns during his final season at Florida. Richardson will look to snap the Steelers' five-game winning streak against the Colts in games played in Indianapolis.
Las Vegas Raiders: This will be the Steelers' first-ever game played in Sin City. While the venue is new, the matchup between the Steelers and Raiders is richly sewn into the history of the NFL. The two teams staged an epic rivalry during the 1970s that included five consecutive playoff matchups. There is recent history between these two teams as well, as Pickett led the Steelers to a comeback win over Las Vegas this past Christmas Eve.
Los Angeles Rams: Speaking of history, this game will mark the first time the Steelers will face the Rams in Los Angeles since the Rams moved back to Hollywood in 2016. Diehard Steelers fans know that Pittsburgh won its fourth and final title of the 1970s at the Rams' expense in Super Bowl XIV. The current Rams squad is young but boasts a future Hall of Fame player in Pittsburgh native Aaron Donald.
Seattle Seahawks: Fittingly, the last team listed here also has some notable history with the Steelers. Seattle lost Super Bowl XL to Bill Cowher's Steelers as Pittsburgh became the first six seed to hoist the Lombardi Trophy. This game has the making of an old school, smash-mouth style of game between two run-oriented teams. Along with running back Kenneth Walker III, the Seahawks also possess a formidable receiving trio of DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett and rookie Jaxon Smith-Njigba.