Pittsburgh Steelers: Game-by-game predictions for 2021 season

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Pittsburgh Steelers

Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

In what could very well be his last season, can Ben Roethlisberger lead the Pittsburgh Steelers back to the playoffs one last time?

The Pittsburgh Steelers will face a daunting task in the 2021 NFL season; namely, the toughest schedule in football.

While the mountain is always steep, the terrain ahead is a bit rougher than that of seasons past. This isn’t the first time the Steelers have been dealt the toughest hand in the league, though. They had the toughest schedule in the NFL in 2008 — and what happened? They won the Super Bowl. Could history repeat itself in the Steel City? Time will tell.

Here are our predictions for every game on the Pittsburgh Steelers schedule in 2021.

Week 1: at Buffalo Bills

The Steelers kick off the season on the road for the seventh consecutive season, this time in a rematch of last season’s Sunday Night Football loss to the Bills. Josh Allen has solidified himself as one of the very best quarterbacks in the NFL and Buffalo has brought back just about every starter that took the team to the AFC Championship Game.

The Steelers were putrid at running the ball in 2020 and Buffalo wasn’t great against the run. We’ll see right away just how impactful Najee Harris will be in this offense. The biggest matchup of this game, though, will be the Bills receivers against Pittsburgh’s secondary. When all is said and done, the losses of Steven Nelson and Mike Hilton might be noticeable for the Steelers.

Final Prediction: Bills 24, Steelers 20

Week 2: vs. Las Vegas Raiders

The Steelers have started 0-2 just one time in the Ben Roethlisberger era (2014). That said, Pittsburgh has struggled against the Raiders over the last two decades. Whether it was Bruce Gradkowski or Terrelle Pryor, the Raiders seem to have Pittsburgh’s number.

Even with the history of struggles against the Silver and Black, Pittsburgh is the far better team on both sides of the ball, and falling to 0-2 would put them in an early hole that could be hard to get out of. It will be closer than expected, but the Steelers will gut out a close win in their home opener.

Final Prediction: Steelers 28, Raiders 24

Week 3: vs. Cincinnati Bengals

The Steelers bullied Joe Burrow in the first matchup between these two teams in 2020 before (checks notes) Ryan Finley led the Bengals to a win over Pittsburgh on Monday Night Football. The Bengals have gotten better this offseason, as well. They stole cornerback Mike Hilton from the Steelers and have upgraded their offensive weapons, as well.

While the Bengals have improved, the Steelers pass rush is still fantastic. With a healthy Devin Bush back in the equation up the middle, as well, Pittsburgh’s defense should be able to keep the Bengals in check. Not to mention the fact that this could be the coming-out party for Najee Harris against a Bengals team that was bad against the run in 2020.

Final Prediction: Steelers 27, Bengals 17

Week 4: at Green Bay Packers

This is a game that is tricky to predict in light of the uncertainty of whether or not Aaron Rodgers will be in Green Bay this season. Assuming he will be, this will be an early test for the Steelers and their defense. Rodgers is coming off a 48-touchdown/five-interception season and Green Bay is among the top contenders in the NFC.

It will be a back and forth game for the Steelers, as slowing down Rodgers is comparable to attempting to stop a freight train. While I think it is close, early-season Aaron Rodgers in Lambeau Field is practically a universal coffin of the damned. Green Bay gets the win.

Final Prediction: Packers 27, Steelers 22

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