Winning AFC North brings a harder schedule in 2021

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There are a lot of uncertainties heading into the offseason for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

A 39-year-old quarterback deciding if it’s time to retire or honor the last remaining year on his contract. A contract that would deliver a big $41.250 million cap hit. Roethlisberger said after Sunday’s loss to the Browns that he hopes the team does want him back for next year, but there is also the possibility that Roethlisberger is cut, saving the team over $20 million in cap space.

Another challenge heading into next season is an aging offensive line that already looked like it lost a step this season.

But one thing is for sure, the Steelers 2021 schedule will be more difficult than 2020.

The AFC North schedule will continue to be a challenge with  two teams that are still alive in the playoffs, (Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens) and Pittsburgh will also face a returning Joe Burrow with Cincinnati twice.

Since the Steelers won the AFC North for the first time since 2017, they’ll face fellow first place teams in the AFC Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo Bills and Tennessee Titans.

Pittsburgh will also face the rest of the AFC west, The 8-8 Las Vegas Raiders, 7-9 Los Angeles Chargers and 5-11 Denver Broncos.

The Steelers also won’t have the NFC East to kick around next season, they’ll face a NFC North that features the #1 seed Green Bay Packers, 8-8 Chicago Bears, 7-9 Minnesota Vikings and 5-11 Detroit Lions.

Eight of the games the Steelers play next year will be against opponents with winning records, two with a .500 record and six against teams that posted a losing record in 2020.

The Steelers will play the Ravens, Browns, Bengals, Bears, Broncos, Lions, Raiders and Titans at home and will travel to face the Ravens, Browns, Bengals, Bills, Packers, Chiefs, Charges and Vikings on the road.

The exact days and times of those games have yet to be determined.