Steelers' schedule packed with prime-time games and mileage

Ben Roethlisberger has led the Steelers to the playoffs in four consecutive seasons. Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports

The NFL has released its 2018 regular-season schedule. Here's a look at what's in store for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Breakdown: The Steelers' schedule is palatable but looks easier than it really is because of the recent struggles of opposing AFC North teams. The Steelers play four of their final seven games on the road and must navigate a New England-New Orleans gauntlet in Weeks 15-16 before ending the year against rival Cincinnati. Six teams on the schedule made the playoffs last season, and that's before you get to what should be an improved division. The biggest surprise is the Steelers don't play the Ravens in December, which felt like tradition the past few years. The Steelers begin the season on the road for the fourth straight year, and at Cleveland for the second straight season.

Get an airline rewards program: The Steelers were mostly regional last season but will be among the league's most traveled in 2018. Four of the Steelers' road games are more than 1,000 miles from Pittsburgh, topping out at 2,572 miles to Oakland. The Steelers' five out-of-division road games (Denver, New Orleans, Jacksonville, Tampa Bay, Oakland) add nearly 7,000 miles to the schedule in all, with three of those games coming in a four-week stretch (Weeks 11-14).

Free for the holidays: After playing on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day last season, the Steelers get a break from all three this year. The NFL did Pittsburgh a solid for hanging tough in 2017. The Steelers have five prime-time games, none on holiday weekends. Six of the Steelers' final eight games will be played at 4:25 or 8:20 p.m.

Strength of schedule: T-25th, .477

Steelers' Regular-Season Schedule (All times Eastern)

  • Week 1: Sunday, Sept. 9, at Cleveland, 1 p.m.

  • Week 2: Sunday, Sept. 16, Kansas City, 1 p.m.

  • Week 3: Monday, Sept. 24, at Tampa Bay, 8:15 p.m.

  • Week 4: Sunday, Sept. 30, Baltimore, 8:20 p.m.

  • Week 5: Sunday, Oct. 7, Atlanta, 1 p.m.

  • Week 6: Sunday, Oct. 14, at Cincinnati, 1 p.m.

  • Week 7: BYE

  • Week 8: Sunday, Oct. 28, Cleveland, 1 p.m.

  • Week 9: Sunday, Nov. 4, at Baltimore, 1 p.m.

  • Week 10: Thursday, Nov. 8, Carolina, 8:20 p.m.

  • Week 11: Sunday, Nov. 18, at Jacksonville, 8:20 p.m.

  • Week 12: Sunday, Nov. 25, at Denver, 4:25 p.m.

  • Week 13: Sunday, Dec. 2, Los Angeles Chargers, 1 p.m.

  • Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 9, at Oakland, 8:20 p.m.

  • Week 15: Sunday, Dec. 16, New England, 4:25 p.m.

  • Week 16: Sunday, Dec. 23, at New Orleans, 4:25 p.m.

  • Week 17: Sunday, Dec. 30, Cincinnati, 1 p.m.