With the 2022 NFL schedule now fully revealed, fans can begin projecting how their teams will do this fall.
It is the time of the year when hope springs eternal, and some teams have more reasons to be hopeful than others. Not all schedules look the same on paper.
Of course, any "hardest" or "easiest" schedules list must be taken with a grain of salt, as we're still months away from actual games being played. But there are some slates that seem considerably more daunting, based off last year's performance and projections for this season.
NFL.com's Nick Shook ranked the top 10 hardest schedules for 2022, and there's a common theme here. Eight of the 10 teams on the list are in the rugged AFC, led by the Pittsburgh Steelers at No. 1.
Nearly every single game in the first half of the season looks like it could be a significant hurdle for Pittsburgh, a franchise taking its first steps into the post-Ben Roethlisberger era, and five of the first eight contests come away from Heinz Field. Things don't get much easier after the Week 9 bye, either, as the Steelers go on the road for four of their final seven games.
Even the "easier" games on Pittsburgh's schedule have potential pitfalls. Of the Steelers' first nine games, the most favorable matchup seems to be a home date against what should be an improved Jets team.
In the back half of the season, the Steelers play the Panthers and Falcons, who are projected to struggle, but both games are on the road. There's not a whole lot of breathing room on the docket.
We'll see if Mike Tomlin and his new starting quarterback--Kenny Pickett or Mitchell Trubisky--are up to the task.