Previewing the second quarter of the Steelers' 2019 regular season schedule | Steel City Underground

Steel City Underground

Pittsburgh Steelers TE Vance McDonald

The Pittsburgh Steelers will open the second quarter of the 2019 NFL regular season against the Baltimore Ravens in an AFC North grudge match and finalize the first half of the season by hosting the Indianapolis Colts at Heinz Field. The Steelers get their 'bye' week in Week Seven. In this preview, we'll look at the teams the Steelers will face, additions they made via the 2019 NFL Draft, and other factors that could play a part in how successful Pittsburgh begins their upcoming season.

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Week Five: Ravens At Steelers

In 2018, these two AFC North rivals split their series with scores that were eerily similar. In their first meeting in Pittsburgh, the Steelers lost by a score of 14-26. In November, the Ravens lost by a score of 16-23. These two teams always play very competitively against each other and in 2018 the Ravens were able to take advantage of early Steelers losses to grab the division title.

While Pittsburgh leads this series, 28-22, a win over Baltimore is never a given. In 2015, the Steelers lost three games to the Ravens; two in the regular season and one in the postseason.

Joe Flacco is now in Denver, giving Lamar Jackson the reins of the Ravens offense. The organization was determined to rebuild its offense around Jackson's mobility. Three of their first four 2019 NFL Draft picks were devoted to complimenting Jackson's talents. John Brown and Michael Crabtree left during free agency leaving Willie Snead, Seth Roberts, and Chris Moore. It came as no surprise that Baltimore grabbed a receiver with their first and third picks. They filled a few other areas of depth and need with their remaining picks, including a quarterback to learn behind Jackson.

  • No. 25: Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma
  • No. 85: Jaylon Ferguson, EDGE, Louisiana Tech
  • No. 93: Miles Boykin, WR, Notre Dame
  • No. 113: Justice Hill, RB, Oklahoma State
  • No. 123: Ben Powers, G, Oklahoma
  • No. 127: Iman Marshall, CB, USC
  • No. 160: Daylon Mack, DT, Texas A&M
  • No. 197: Trace McSorley, QB, Penn State

The Ravens also came to terms with 17 rookie free agents:  ILB Otaro Alaka (Texas A&M), OT Marcus Applefield (Virginia), ILB E.J. Ejiya (North Texas), TE Cole Herdman (Purdue), OLB Markus Jones (Angelo State), G Patrick Mekari (Cal-Berkeley), WR Sean Modster (Boise State), DT Kalil Morris (Kent State), OLB Mike Onuoha (Texas A&M-Commerce), LS Matthew Orzech (Azusa Pacific), TE Charles Scarff (Delaware), WR Jaylen Smith (Louisville), ILB Silas Stewart (Incarnate Word), C C.J. Toogood  (Elon), WR Antoine Wesley (Texas Tech), DT Gerald Willis (Miami (Fla.)), S Evan Worthington, Colorado.

The Ravens lost to the Los Angeles Chargers in the wild-card round of the AFC playoffs, 17-23.

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Week Six: Steelers At Chargers

Speaking of that 'other team' in Los Angeles (not called the Rams), the only team in the AFC North that was able to succeed against them during the 2018 regular season was Baltimore (22-10). The Steelers lost to the Chargers, 30-33; the Bengals, 21-26; the Browns, 14-38. We already know that the Chargers got payback against the Ravens in the postseason on their way to a Super Bowl showdown, which they lost, with the Patriots.

Pittsburgh had Los Angeles' number until the fourth quarter of the Dec. 2 game at Heinz Field. After leading 23-7 at halftime, the Chargers were able to outscore the Steelers in the second half of the game, 26-7. The Steelers could not get the run game into the next gear even though James Conner did get an early touchdown run. The other two scores were passes from Ben Roethlisberger, including one to Jaylen Samuels. The only other points put on the scoreboard was by kicker Chris Boswell. Terrell Edmunds and Javon Hargrave both logged a sack apiece on Philip Rivers.

The Steelers lead this series, 23-10-0, but the Chargers have built a championship team and only added to it through the 2019 NFL Draft. They chose depth throughout the process, especially along their defensive line.

  • No. 28: Jerry Tillery, DT, Notre Dame
  • No. 60: Nas Adderly, S, Delaware
  • No. 91: Trey Pipkins, OT, Sioux Falls
  • No. 130: Drue Tranquill, LB, Notre Dame
  • No. 166: Easton Stick, QB, North Dakota State
  • No. 200: Emeke Egbule, LB/DE, Houston
  • No. 242: Cortez Broughton, DT, Cincinnati

Being on the road won't be favorable for Pittsburgh and this could be one of the tougher games on their 2019 schedule.

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Week 7: Bye

The Steelers catch their 'bye' at a great time in 2019; after a road trip and before a three-game home stand in Weeks 8-10. They'll then stay close to home by traveling to Cleveland and Cincinnati in Weeks 11 and 12. They won't travel again until Week 14. This should be an opportunity to not only rest-up and recover from any potential injuries but get invigorated to have a great run at the end of their schedule.

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Week Eight: Dolphins At Steelers

The last time these two teams met was in the wild-card round of the playoffs on Jan. 8, 2017. The Steelers won the game, 30-12. Previous to that game, the Steelers and Dolphins faced each other during the regular season in 2016 (Oct. 16) with Miami handing the then 4-2 Pittsburgh squad a 30-15 loss. Ben Roethlisberger only threw for 189 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions. Tyler Matakevich led with nine tackles and the Steelers defense was unable to get Ryan Tannehill to the ground for a sack or earn a takeaway.

In a trade with the Arizona Cardinals, Miami offered a second-round pick (No. 62 overall) in this year's draft as well as a fifth-round pick in 2020 to acquire quarterback Josh Rosen. They're hoping he can compete for the starting position and give a spark to their offense. By waiving Luke Falk, it looks like they're ready to give Rosen the best possible opportunity to succeed. They started the 2019 NFL Draft by bolstering their defensive line and offensive line while filling positions of depth and need in later rounds.

  • No. 13: Christian Wilkins, DL, Clemson
  • No. 78: Michael Dieter, G, Wisconsin
  • No. 151: Andrew Van Ginkel, OLB, Wisconsin
  • No. 202: Isaiah Prince, OT, Ohio State
  • No. 233: Chandler Cox, FB, Auburn
  • No. 234: Myles Gaskins, RB, Washington

The fact that the Dolphins finished 2018 ranked second in the AFC East makes this a matchup the Steelers can't afford to become a 'trap' game. Pittsburgh has had a habit of overlooking teams that haven't carried a strong win-loss record in the past but in 2019, hopefully, they've put that type of poor planning and execution behind them.

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Week Nine: Colts at Steelers

The last time Indianapolis and Pittsburgh went head-to-head was on Nov. 12, 2017. The Steelers were able to grab a three-point win from Chris Boswell's successful field goal late in the fourth quarter. Colts quarterback Andrew Luck was injured, so the Steelers defense faced Jacoby Brissett who threw for 222 yards on 14 completions for two touchdowns and an interception (Ryan Shazier). Vince Williams and Stephon Tuitt both logged a sack apiece. Sean Davis led the defense with eight total tackles.

The Steelers lead this series, 24-6-0, but Colts owner Jim Irsay recently made a guarantee that Indianapolis will get another Super Bowl title. "It will happen," Irsay said, according to ESPN. "I have never felt so certain about something in my life." In 2018, the Colts finished the regular season by finishing 11th overall in total defense in the NFL and 16th against the pass. They addressed issues in their secondary immediately in the 2019 NFL Draft by grabbing Rock Ya-Sin out of Temple; they then added two safeties and really doubled-down on the defensive side of the ball.

  • No. 34: Rock Ya-Sin, CB, Temple
  • No. 46: Ben Banogu, DE, TCU
  • No. 59: Parris Campbell, WR, Ohio State
  • No. 89: Bobby Okereke, LB, Stanford
  • No. 109: Khari Willis, S, Michigan State
  • No. 144: Marvell Tell III, S, USC
  • No. 164: E.J. Speed, LB, Tarleton State
  • No. 199: Gerri Green, DE, Mississippi State
  • No. 240: Jackson Barton, OT, Utah
  • No. 246: Javon Patterson, C, Ole Miss

The Colts released Jamal Peters (CB) with an injury settlement and signed pass-rusher Dadi Nicholas but have also brought undrafted free agents Cole Hedlund (K), Sterling Shippy (DT), Shakial Taylor (CB) and Tre Thomas (LB), Ashton Dulin (WR), Penny Hart (WR), Hale Hentges (TE), Iseoluwapo Jegede (DT), Johnny Robinson (DT), and Jordan Thompson (DT) in. They waived Clayton Hatfield (K), Chris Rayford (CB), and Anthony Winbush (DE).

This looks, on paper, to be a competitive game between the Steelers and Colts at the midpoint of the regular season.

Pittsburgh Steelers 2019 Regular Season Schedule

Week Opponent Location
1 New England Patriots Foxborough, Mass
2 Seattle Seahawks Pittsburgh, PA
3 San Francisco 49ers Santa Clara, CA
4 Cincinnati Bengals Pittsburgh, PA
5 Baltimore Ravens Pittsburgh, PA
6 Los Angeles Chargers Carson, CA
8 Miami Dolphins Pittsburgh, PA
9 Indianapolis Colts Pittsburgh, PA
10 Los Angeles Rams Pittsburgh, PA
11 Cleveland Browns Cleveland, OH
12 Cincinnati Bengals Cincinnati, OH
13 Cleveland Browns Pittsburgh, PA
14 Arizona Cardinals Glendale, AZ
15 Buffalo Bills Pittsburgh, PA
16 New York Jets East Rutherford, NJ
17 Baltimore Ravens Baltimore, MD

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