This Wednesday (May 12 at 8 p.m. ET), fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers will finally know the team's full schedule ahead of the 2021 regular season. The reveal, which will be available to watch on NFL Network, NFL.com or the NFL app, will see the league's first 17-game regular season launch.
While the order of games played remains to be unknown until then, we do know the opponents the Steelers will play next season:
Home: Baltimore, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Chicago, Denver, Las Vegas, Detroit, Seattle and Tennessee
Away: Baltimore, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Buffalo, Green Bay, Minnesota, Kansas City and Los Angeles (Chargers)
We also know the Steelers are slated to play the Dallas Cowboys in the Pro Football Hall of Fame game to kick off the NFL's preseason festivities.
Tickets for home games are rumored to go on sale after the schedules are released, as all NFL teams have stated they plan on having full-capacity stadiums in the upcoming season. As the Steelers await their destiny, the team will certainly be hoping for a favorable roll of the dice.
Here are two simple wishes as we await the Steelers' future on Wednesday night.
1. Home-Opener is a Must
Look, the Steelers haven't hosted a team for the first game of the season since 2014. To put that into perspective, players such as Troy Polamalu, Jarvis Jones and Dri Archer were on the roster for the 2014 season. Similar to the belief that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, starting your season off on the right foot can be pivotal in getting the gears turning sooner rather than later.
What better way to start that campaign off at home?
We know that inevitably 16 teams won't get their wish of a home-opener, but after six straight seasons of starting the season on the road, the Steelers certainly feel due to once again begin their season in the friendly atmosphere of Heinz Field.
Playing their first game at home also would help alleviate some of the problems encountered in the Steelers' second wish.
2. Ease the Burden of the League's Toughest Schedule
With Pittsburgh's 2021 opponents possessing a collective .574% winning percentage, the Steelers statistically will walk into the new season with the title of the NFL's toughest schedule. With common opponents, the Ravens (2nd), Bengals (6th) and Browns (9th) also have fairly tough schedules as well.
The Steelers are set to hit the road and travel to tough destinations such as Buffalo, Green Bay, Kansas City and Minnesota. Factor in a trip to the west coast (Los Angeles) where the Steelers have failed to sustain successful results under Mike Tomlin, and you have quite the road ahead of the black and gold.
So, how can the burden of carrying the league's toughest schedule be eased?
There's no escaping the gauntlet that awaits, yet how the NFL decides to schedule those games can greatly impact the Steelers. Last season, the Steelers completed a tough five-game stretch that saw four road games, including three straight away games at Tennessee, Baltimore and Dallas to start that stretch.
A similar stretch in 2021 might look like this:
Obviously, that would be a worst-case scenario and a nightmare of stretch. However, a balanced schedule of home/away games would help alleviate the pressure of an already tough break of a schedule. Away stretches are inevitable, and with the NFL needing to cater to 32 different teams, stadiums and other variables, the Steelers will be at the mercy of whatever algorithm proves best for all teams in the league.
Yet with just two simple wishes for the NFL, the Steelers should (hopefully) see one of their requests be granted on Wednesday.