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Delayed division games might work to Steelers' benefit

Pretty much every team can fashion a complaint when it comes to their schedule. One of the biggest complaints arising from the Steelers' schedule is that it includes no division games until Week 11.

That might not be a bad thing, for a couple of reasons.

First, the other quarterbacks in the division are very good, when healthy. They each, however, have a history of serious injury. The later in the year the Bengals, Browns, and Ravens appear on the schedule, the greater the chance one of more of them won't have their starting quarterbacks. (We're not trying to jinx anyone. We're just stating facts.)

Second, with an entirely new depth chart at the quarterback position and a brand-new offense, it's better for the Steelers to defer the all-important division games until later in the year.

The Steelers have plenty of games that they'll have a chance to win, before the division games roll around. At the risk of prematurely attaching wins and losses to games to be played months from now, there aren't a lot of obvious Ls lurking in: at Falcons, at Broncos, vs. Chargers, at Colts, vs. Cowboys, at Raiders, Jets, Giants, at Commanders.

The Steelers could be 6-3 or 7-2 as they head into Ravens, at Browns, at Bengals, Browns. The next-level meat grinder arrives after that, with at Eagles, at Ravens, Chiefs, Bengals to end the season.

Flip it around. Take it in reverse. If the season started with Bengals, Chiefs, at Ravens, at Eagles, Browns, at Bengals, at Browns, Ravens, where would the Steelers — with new offense and new quarterbacks — be after eight games? This configuration the Steelers received gives them a chance to load up on wins, get better on the fly, and attack the final eight games en route to a potential playoff run.

So don't complain, Steelers fans. It's much better this way. Get the easier games early, build some confidence, and attack the harder games after you've hit your stride.