Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Schedule Musings

Looking at the Steelers' 2008 regular season schedule is a fairly straightforward thing -- Houston in week one, go to Cleveland in week two, etc etc. But some context can be added to the whole scheme by looking at the respective schedules Pittsburgh's opponents, including their opponent the week prior to playing against the Black & Gold. Here's what we mean:

Houston: The all-time series is tied, each team having won a single game. In their six previous seasons in the league the Texans have opened on the road twice, and have a record of 1-1 in those games.

@Cleveland: Rivalry game extraordinaire. Previous week's opponent: Dallas

@Philadelphia: The Eagles will be coming off a Monday night game versus Dallas. The Steelers will be playing a second consecutive game on the road. In 2007 the Steelers had consecutive road games twice, and went 1-1 both times. Previous week's opponent: Dallas

Baltimore: After being demolished on a Monday night last season the Ravens, who need very little motivation in order to get up for games versus the Steelers, will have all that they could hope for. Previous week's opponent: Cleveland.

@Jacksonville: A Sunday night battle. The Steelers are 8-11 all-time versus the Jaguars, 3-7 in Jacksonville. Previous week's opponent: Houston.

Bye Week: The Steelers have their bye in week six for the second consecutive season.

@Cincinnati: It is almost inconceivable that the Bengals will play as poorly in 2008 as they did in 2007. Then again, Chad Johnson hasn't been traded yet. And lest we put too much of the blame on Ocho-Cinco the record of head coach Marvin Lewis isn't inspiring much confidence. In his five seasons as the Bengals' head coach Mr. Lewis' records have been 8-8, 8-8, 11-5, 8-8, 7-9. Additionally, in the "bye week era" the Steelers have a record of 10-9 in the week following the bye (note: there were two, non-consecutive bye weeks in 1993; and counted in this total is the game following a two week cancellation in September 2001), and lost last season's game to Denver. Previous week's opponent: N.Y. Jets

N.Y. Giants: The champs -- prepare for New Yorkers to sneek across the border. One weekend not to be in the 'Burgh. Previous week's opponent: San Francisco.

@Washington: Another new coach in Washington tries to build on, what this time round proved to be rather modest success of, a Joe Gibbs tenure. Meanwhile, the Steelers' overall record on Monday night is 35-22; however their road record on Monday night's is 13-17. Previous week's opponent: Detroit.

Indianapolis: The average high temperature on the North Shore on November 9th is 52 degrees fahrenheit, while the record low high temperature is eighteen. Here's hoping for a cold snap. Previous week's opponent: New England.

San Diego: The Steelers lead this all-time series with a 19-6 mark, but lost the last meeting between these two teams (October 8, 2006, 13-23). In 2007 the Steelers played two consecutive home games on three separate occasions and were undefeated in those six games. Previous opponent: Kansas City.

Cincinnati: As previously noted. Previous week's opponent: Philadelphia.

@New England: Though the Steelers lead the all-time series at 12-7, in recent years the Patriots have won the games that mattered most. And while the early part of the Patriots' schedule will seemingly have them undefeated, five of their road games this season are out of the Eastern time zone, and four them are on the west coast (at S.F. and at S.D. in consecutive weeks, then at Seattle and at Oakland in consecutive weeks). Previous week's opponent: Miami.

Dallas: When is a young quarterback's third season as starter "make or break"? When he plays in Dallas. The Steelers were 2-0 at home against the NFC in 2007. Previous week's opponent: Seattle.

@Baltimore: The Steelers have not won a regular season game in Baltimore since October 27, 2002. Previous week's opponent: Washington.

@Tennessee: Since becoming the Tennessee Titans the Steelers have a 3-10 record against this franchise (including playoff games), and are 1-7 playing in Nashville. In 2007 the Steelers were 2-4 on the road versus an AFC opponent. Previous week's opponent: Houston.

Cleveland: The 2007 regular season featured a final game against Baltimore; and about this time last year everyone assumed that that game would go a long way in determining the AFC North champion. Previous week's opponent: Cincinnati.