By Jeremy Hritz
This is the complete 2022 The Steel Study Steelers Season Preview in one article. It was released in several parts over the course of last week.
On the precipice of another Pittsburgh Steelers season, the optimism is peaking, though for different reasons. For the first time in 18 years, a new quarterback will lead the organization against the competition, in a newly named stadium, with many other new faces on the roster, in addition to fresh coaching faces. Surely, it is a season of change, but one still replete with high expectations and the end destination of a Super Bowl berth.
As is the mantra in Pittsburgh, the standard is the standard.
Whether or not this newly constructed team can compete with the likes of the AFC North foes Cincinnati Bengals or Baltimore Ravens remains to be seen. But this much is for certain: there is talent on this roster.
TJ Watt, Cameron Heyward, and Minkah Fitzpatrick form the trinity of the defense with the potential to dominate the NFL, while on offense, it’s not as stable. Outside of second year running back Najee Harris, the offense is a massive question mark, while the special teams have the makings of being an effective unit.
With that said, 2022 will be an intriguing season for the Pittsburgh Steelers, and I offer you my season preview. I walk you through each position, its outlook, and areas of strength, in addition to areas for improvement. Additionally, I will share with you my statistical projections for multiple players on the roster, and also my game-by-game prediction to reveal just how far I believe these Steelers, based on this offseason, have the potential to make it.
So settle into your favorite chair, crack a beer, and read on to get yourself ready for the new season of Pittsburgh Steelers football.
It’s All About the (New) Quarterback
Ben Roethlisberger has retired, and with his departure, an 18-year identity is gone. Newly appointed starter Mitchel Trubisky takes the reins as the starter, looking to live up to his #2 overall draft selection with the Chicago Bears (2017). With a 29-21 record as a starter, Trubisky is no stranger to life in the NFL, and those bullish on his prospects believe he can thrive within the Steelers organization. With mobility that Roethlisberger has been missing for years, Trubisky is being counted on to lead a young unit through buying time in the pocket to allow for his neophyte receivers to get open. My greatest concern for Trubisky is whether or not he can push the ball down the field, as this was an area of struggle for him with the Bears. He did make some notable deep passes in the preseason, and quite possibly this will not be an issue with the Steelers; however, until I see it in the regular season consistently, I’m hesitant to believe.
It doesn’t matter anyway, because despite the fact that Trubisky is starting, it is only a matter of time before rookie QB Kenny Pickett takes over the team. Drafted #20 overall in the first round, Pickett is a local legend and has quite the hoard of supporters clamoring for him to take command as the starter. Trubisky will be given 6-7 games to show what he can do, and if he is average to below average, Pickett will get his opportunity.
Pickett possesses moxie and calmness in the pocket, and he demonstrated that in the preseason by making several throws in the face of pressure. On top of his mobility, he also has nice touch on his throws, tailoring each one to what is needed for the called play. He has flashed the makings of a franchise quarterback, and without question before the season is over, he will get his opportunity.
Surprisingly, Mason Rudolph remains on the roster, and will serve as QB#3 behind Pickett and Trubisky. I fully expected the Steelers to trade Rudolph prior to the start of the season, but that has not transpired (though it still could). Instead, the 5th year QB out of Oklahoma State will solidify the unit with experience and the ability to start a few games if needed due to injury or poor play. There is no question Rudolph wants to be a starter somewhere in the NFL, and these circumstances are not ideal for him, be he is the consummate professional, and he will not allow his frustration to turn into a distraction for the team. Reportedly, the Steelers want a 3rd round pick for Rudolph’s services, and before the trade deadline if a team comes calling with such an offering, I would not be surprised whatsoever to see him moved.
It’s also worth noting that 7th round draft selection Chris Oladokun was released and signed with the Kansas City Chiefs to join their practice squad. Was it a wasted draft pick? Maybe. But it was a 7th rounder and a crap shoot.
Putting It All Together
This is an unproven unit, and because of that, it is difficult to have true confidence in what the quarterbacks will offer. Only time, repetitions, and evidence will convince Steelers Nation that either Trubisky or Pickett have what it takes to lead this team into the playoffs, and it will be the position most scrutinized this season by fans.
Come season end, fans will either be missing Roethlisberger dearly and pining for the “good ole’ days,” or they will be celebrating and embracing a new face at the position who leads them to a winning record.
Whatever the outcome, hang on, because it’s going to be one hell of a ride.
Harris is entering his second year, and he showed in 2021 that he is more than capable of carrying the load and being the workhorse running back that has come to be a staple of Pittsburgh Steelers lore. Harris rushed for over 1200 yards behind a god-awful offensive line, and good thing he has that experience, as the 2022 version of the OL may be just as bad. Harris is both a physical runner who wears defenses down, but also versatile pass catcher to make plays in the passing game. If the line can improve even incrementally, it is not a stretch to forecast at least 1500 rushing yards for the second year runner out of Alabama. The offense will run through Harris, and his performance will be indicative of the success of the Steelers in 2022.
The Steelers had a find in this year’s UDRFA class in Jaylen Warren, who made the team by showing up consistently not only in training camp, but also in preseason games. Warren is a shifty, one-cut, physical runner who always seems to scratch and claw forward for at least three yards. He will be given a true opportunity to be the #2 behind Harris, and that is a win for the Steelers offense. Warren is versatile as well, in addition to being a quality pass protector, so fans should be excited about his contributions to the team as the backup runner and potentially, third down back.
Bennie Snell returns for his 4th season because of his experience and value on special teams, but he more than likely will lose some carries to Warren. Snell is not spectacular, but he has proven that he can fill in when needed and be productive. It’s safe to forecast this is Snell’s final year with the Steelers.
The Lone Ranger at Fullback
This is simple: Derek Watt returns as the Steelers fullback. Under-utilized and really not a focal point of the offense, you have to wonder if that increases this year with a new quarterback and the potential now for Canada to run the type of offense he desires. Regardless of whether or not he contributes on offense, the other Watt is a special teams demon and a leader in the locker room. While he was injured for the duration of preseason, ensuring he is ready for week #1 is the priority. Offers many intangibles beyond his play on the field.
Tight End May Be the Strongest Position for the Steelers
As I stated this offseason, tight end is a quiet position of strength for the Steelers, and I am even more confident in the assertion following training camp and preseason contests. Pat Freiermuth is poised for a breakout season and is emerging as a legitimate #1 TE, able to stretch the field, in addition to making catches in traffic. He will be a go-to target for either Trubisky or Pickett on third down, and we could be talking about a Pro Bowl season for Freiermuth come December.
Zach Gentry is the backup TE to Freiermuth, and the 4th year player continues to make strides in his conversion from QB to TE. Gentry is massive at 6’8 and appears to have finally figured out the position, which is good news for the team. He came on in 2021, and it is reasonable to expect another incremental jump for him in 2022. A good blocker and pass catcher, he is the perfect complement to Freiermuth, so expect to see several 2 tight end sets in the offense.
The number 3 tight end this season will be Connor Heyward, the rookie 6th round selection out of Michigan State. Heyward had an excellent camp, showing versatility, and the ability to make plays. The game is not too big for him as a first-year player, and even though he will be #3, he will get plenty of snaps in 2022. Heyward, brother of Cameron, will be utilized creatively in this Matt Canada offense, even carrying the ball at times, and he has the potential to be a surprise to opponents. Keep an eye on Heyward, as he is a gamer and true football player in every sense of the concepts.
The wide receiver position should be much improved over 2021 for one reason: speed. Last year, the Steelers lacked a receiver who was able to get behind defenders, and it limited how the offense could attack, making them a predictable unit. Factor in an aging QB with limited mobility and a penchant for the short passing attack, and the result was mediocre at best.
Rookie George Pickens not only offers speed, but aggression and physicality, and the willingness to sacrifice his body for the catch to make spectacular receptions in traffic. In addition, he is an eager contributor in the blocking game, and he could end up being a complete receiver for the team. We should, however, not expect immediate results from Pickens because it could take some time, especially with a new quarterback, to get into a rhythm. Once he does, look out.
Rookie Calvin Austin also provides the element of speed and shiftiness, and if he can get healthy, he will be given the opportunity to contribute in the passing attack. How long it takes him to get healthy is the biggest question mark.
Returning for the Steelers is WR#1, Diontae Johnson, fresh off his contract extension, and ready to prove himself as a number one receiver in the NFL. He made several outstanding catches during training camp, as well as in the preseason, and he appears poised for a year of personal bests. The key for Johnson is a) to stay healthy and b) to reduce his drops. This has been a challenge for him in his first few seasons, and while he improved in 2021, he has to continue to show focus and concentration to grow and improve.
Chase Claypool is a big-bodied pass catcher entering year #3, and after a down season in 2021, there is reason for optimism for elevated output this year. Like Johnson, Claypool struggled with concentration last season, and failed to pull in several passes that should have been caught. He also hurt the team at times with a lack of emotional control, which led to unnecessary penalties. If he can put these things behind him and return to the output of his rookie season, it could be a special year for him. However, you have to wonder whether or not Pickens steals some of his opportunities.
Gunnar Olzewski and Steven Sims are similar-type players who have speed and are able to provide spark in the return game. Sims is the more agile, faster receiver of the two, while Olzewski is rugged and more eager in the blocking game. Where both struggle is with ball security, and this has to be a focus for improvement so it doesn’t become an issue than hurts the team once regular season play begins.
Miles Boykin made the roster for his special teams play, but I’m not convinced he sticks and doesn’t end up on the practice squad.
Overall, this unit now has the best of both worlds in terms of possession receivers and speed, but it is unproven and needs to establish consistency if they are going to become a standout group in the league.
Steelers Offensive Line, Offensive, or On the Rise?
Where do I begin?
2021 was a disastrous year for the Steelers offensive line. Poor run blocking, shoddy pass protection, it was one of the factors that led to the early demise of this team in the postseason. This offseason, the team added right guard James Daniels and center Mason Cole, and there was optimism about how they could elevate the play of this group in 2022. Well, the preseason did not necessarily endorse that sentiment for these newcomers.
In addition, Dan Moore, the second year left tackle out of Texas A&M, whom everyone had high expectations for, played the worst out of all the linemen, looking like a turnstile, allowing pressures, sacks, and racking up penalties. This is worrisome, as Moore is responsible for protecting Trubisky’s blind side, and if he cannot at least regain his output from his rookie season, there is reason to be concerned about the health of the quarterbacks.
Kendrick Green was moved to left guard this offseason to compete with Kevin Dotson, but that did not work out. In camp, and in all three preseason games, Green was consistently overpowered and pushed into the backfield, generating some discussions about whether or not he would be cut, let alone make the team. Green did survive final cuts, and will serve as a backup at LG and center, but he will not see the field unless all depth is exhausted. Dotson will start at left guard, and he has promise and potential if he can stay healthy. It will be his third year, so the expectation for him to be the people-mover he was drafted to be must come to fruition.
At right tackle, Chukwuma Okorafor returns, and is the most consistent and stable linemen that the Steelers have. Some will argue that this is all you need to know about the state of the Steelers offensive line, but I believe that Okorafor will have his best season yet, as he enters his 5th season and is only 25-years old. Okorafor has much potential and is athletic, and he could be on the verge of his best season.
JC Hassenaeur is a viable option as depth at center and guard, but beyond him, this team doesn’t have many options if there are injuries.
I wouldn’t draw to final of a conclusion on the offensive line just yet as they have a new OL coach, new players, and still haven’t had time to gel as a unit. After about 3-4 games, we should have an idea of what we have with this group. Will it be more of 2021, worse, or a pleasant surprise?
The answer will probably be somewhere in the middle.
If there was a unit that was equally as bad, if not worse, than the offensive line last season, it was the defensive line. Game after game, this unit was gashed and gave up rushing yards in bunches, and no personnel adjustments or game planning could solve it. The end result was a demoralized defense that was consistently playing from behind, who allowed the opponent to control the clock.
Part of the problem last year was the absence of Stephon Tuitt who has since retired, and the season-ending injury to Tyson Alualu, who has recovered and is now poised to return as the starting nose tackle. These issues forced many inexperienced and unready players into the starting lineup and rotation, which led to many of the issues this group experienced in 2021.
The heart and soul of the defensive line, and maybe even the entire team, is Cameron Heyward, and he returns after an excellent 2021 season, in spite of the overall performance of the defense. Heyward’s play is not slowing, and another outstanding output should be expected from him, not only against the run, but as a pass rusher as well. His starting mates will be Alualu, who returns from injury at nose, and the newly signed Larry Ogunjobi who will take over Tuitt’s vacated spot. Alualu is stout in the middle, while Ogunjobi is athletic and versatile, and if both can mesh with Heyward, this starting defensive front could be formidable.
DL Depth Has Experience
Backing up Heyward will be 2nd year man Isaiah Loudermilk out of Wisconsin and rookie DeMarvin Leal out of Texas A&M. Loudermilk got valuable experience and reps last season due to the many injuries, and much is expected from his this year. Leal showed promise this preseason and appeared to be much better against the run than he was in college, where he excelled more so as a pass rusher. Both players will work into a rotation to keep Heyward fresh.
Ogunjobi’s backup will be Chris Wormley who is a better pass rusher than run defender. In fact, he is somewhat of a liability in defending the run, so I wonder if the coaching staff will look to incorporate him as a sub during passing down situations.
Montravius Adams will be the next man up behind Alualu after impressing the coaching staff last year after being signed off of the New Orleans Saints practice squad. Adams has great burst to disrupt the flow of running plays in the backfield, and it will be interesting to see how a full year with the team benefits his performance.
Overall, this is a healthy group, and it should be better than it was last season. It has to be, because if it’s not, look for more of the same struggles that kept the team from being a true contender in 2021.
The Steelers have the luxury of having one of the best players in the world at outside linebacker on their team: TJ Watt. After a record-setting season in 2021 with 22.5 sacks, Watt seems more motivated than ever to eclipse that number and set the single-season record in the NFL for sacks. Voted as a team captain in 2022, Watt will dominate once again and be one of the reasons for optimism on this unit.
Opposite Watt for a third year will be Alex Highsmith who improved last year and could be on the verge of breaking out. Highsmith had 46 tackles, 6 sacks, and 1 forced fumble last season, which was a jump over his year one production. This offseason he discussed his focus on “finishing each play,” and if he can continue to even improve incrementally, that will benefit he partner in the pass rush, Watt. During training camp in 2021, Highsmith was a force of nature, but his season was modest. He is a player to keep an eye on this season to become the next star on the Steelers defense.
Backing up Watt will be newly traded for Malik Reed who is a pass-rush specialist and recorded 15 sacks in 3 seasons in Denver in limited time. He will be an upgrade over Derek Tuszka and Taco Charlton, both who were reserve OLBs last season with the Steelers. Behind Highsmith will be Jamir Jones, a training camp phenom in 2021, who returns to the team, hopeful to rekindle the success he had rushing the passer last preseason during the regular season.
Overall, Watt and Highsmith are a formidable starting duo, and the addition of Reed solidifies the depth of this group. If I were to acknowledge the strongest position on the team, outside linebacker is it.
Murky, But Jacked in the Middle
For as strong as the outside linebackers are for the Steelers, the insider backers are still a question mark. Devin Bush had a subpar training camp and preseason, and for a moment, it appeared there was a chance he would be cut. That did not materialize, and he is currently listed as the starting left inside linebacker. Bush was outstanding in his first season, showing range and athleticism, able to track down ballcarriers with speed and ease; however, after tearing his ACL, he has not been the same. The problems that Bush had in 2021–getting off blocks, covering tight ends, appearing interested in the game–resurfaced during camp and in preseason contests, raising significant concerns in Steelers Nation. In the final preseason contest against the Lions, Bush had his best game, even though there were still warts, and it was enough for him to hold onto his starting spot. Regardless, he will be on a short leash, and if his struggles appear early and often, he will undoubtedly be sent to the bench.
There is enthusiasm and excitement for Bush’s pal in the middle, Myles Jack, who comes to Pittsburgh after many successful seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Jack is a fiery, explosive player who can diagnose and react to the play quickly, consistently making tackles for losses, and setting the tone for the defense. While he too is not great in pass coverage, what he brings as a run defender is welcomed value to this organization. Jack could experience a career revitalization in Pittsburgh after playing in the doldrums of the NFL in Jacksonville, and he could be a player we spend much time talking about at the end of the season as to why the team excelled.
Backing up at LILB will be Robert Spillane who will be at the ready to jump into the starting lineup the moment Bush struggles, though he is limited athletically, and is best coming downhill to stop the run. At the ready at RILB will be Mark Robinson, the rookie out of Ole Miss, who turned heads this preseason with his explosion. While he is not ready, by mid-season, he should have enough of a grasp on the defense to get some snaps. Finally, Marcus Allen is listed as a third-team ILB and will be a special teams ace, and only get snaps at inside backer if something goes terrible awry at the position.
Can Bush regain his form? Will Jack become a new Steelers fan favorite? Or will it be a return to the shoddy ILB play from 2021? If this defense is to be a great unit, they need great play from their inside backers, but the jury is still out as to whether or not they can get it done.
The cornerback position is in a bit of transition this year, as fan favorite Joe Haden is gone, and has been replaced by Ahkello Witherspoon on the left side. Witherspoon showed a great deal of promise towards the end of last season with his athleticism and ability to make plays on the football. In his limited action, he appeared to be the ball hawking corner the team has been searching for; however, whether or not he can do it for an entire season, in addition to holding up against the physicalities of stopping the run, remains to be seen.
Opposite Witherspoon on the right side will be Cameron Sutton, entering his second year as starter. Last season, Sutton’s performance was serviceable, but he will need to make a jump if the secondary is to improve. Too many times last season, Sutton allowed receivers to get behind him, resulting in chunk pass plays, and that just cannot happen in 2022. Sutton is better suited for the slot position, and there is the possibility that he flip/flops with newly signed Levi Wallace in specific sub-packages on defense to give opponents unique looks.
Wallace will serve as Sutton’s backup, and will get a solid amount of playing time this season, as he was effective during his tenure in Buffalo. He is a smart, assignment-sound, physical corner who lacks elite speed and athleticism, but can make plays. If put in the right position, he can be an uplift for the secondary.
Backing up Witherspoon is James Pierre, who plays his best football in short spaces, a la the red area, but when forced to defend large chunks of the field, is susceptible to getting beat deep. The Steelers need Witherspoon to stay healthy, because if Pierre is the starter for any period of time, the defense will get exploited.
Finally, Arthur Maulet returns for his second season with the Steelers as the nickel, and brings intensity and his best Mike Hilton impersonation to the position. He’s not a spitting image of the former Steeler, but the coaching staff continues to try and force him into that mold.
Overall, cornerback is a questionable position for the Steelers, and its success will be dependent on the growth of Sutton and how Witherspoon handles his first year as a starter. Lots of boom or bust potential for this unit.
Steelers in Safe Hands at Safety
As unknown of a commodity as the cornerbacks are, the Steelers safety position is strong. There is something to be said for talent, but also when players have played together for an extended period of time, there is camaraderie, quality communication, and intuition that grows from such longevity. And that is the case for starters Minkah Fitzpatrick and Terrell Edmunds.
Fitzpatrick, who signed a massive contract this offseason, is one of the most dynamic safeties in the NFL, who has playmaking talent, but he showed last season that he can also play a physical brand of football, as he led the defense in tackles, having to serve as the last line of support too often as a result of the sieve defensive line. It seems that new defensive coordinator, Teryl Austin, is scheming to free up Fitzpatrick to play the safety position more like Troy Polamalu, where he has greater freedom to create and make plays. Fitzpatrick is primed for what could be his best year, and I would not be surprised at all if he is in the running for Defensive Player of the Year come season’s end.
Edmunds nearly didn’t return with the team, but at the last minute, he was offered a modest contract that he accepted, keeping intact the Steelers safety tandem for another year. For all the athleticism that Fitzpatrick possesses, Edmunds does not have it, but what he does have is fearlessness and a thumper-mentality. An effort to play Edmunds closer to the line of scrimmage as more of a hybrid linebacker was evident this preseason, and this may carry over into the regular season to take advantage of his strengths. Edmunds had his best season in 2021, and if the coaching staff makes an effort to take advantage of his strengths, his play could be even better this season.
Backing up Fitzpatrick will be second year player Tre Norwood who is versatile and did some impressive things as a rookie. Not the fastest player, Norwood is intelligent and in the right place at the right time, but he can be taken advantage of by speed. Behind Edmunds will be team captain, Miles Killebrew who may be the team’s best special teamer, and also fits the mold of a hybrid safety/linebacker.
It is also worth mentioning that Damontae Kazee was placed on the short-term injury reserve, and will return to the team at some point. Kazee was being utilized in a 3-safety package for the defense, which unfettered Fitzpatrick in the backend, and this will certainly come into play once he returns around week 4 or 5.
The Steelers are set at the kicker position, with stud-footed Chris Boswell, who has become clutch when needed in pressure situations. Anything 49-yards or less, the Boz seems automatic and able to help the Steelers sneak out a clutch victory. In terms of kickoffs, while he has improved in this area in recent seasons, this is not a strength for him, though he is able to kick it out of the end zone more often than not. Altogether, it is Boswell who makes the special teams unit, well, special.
At punter, Pressley Harvin begins his second season, still possessing a powder keg leg, and questions about his consistency. In his rookie year, Harvin showed elite leg talent and ball placement; however, that was spoiled by frequent shanks and below standard punts. Harvin did have personal challenges last season, with the illness and passing of his father, which made the game of football secondary to real-life. If he can become more stable in his game, the Steelers have a Pro Bowl, if not All Pro punter on their roster who can flip the field with every punt. (It’s also worth noting that Harvin will handle the holding duties again this year).
Christian Kuntz returns at long snapper for his second year as a starter, and he proved last season he can be reliable and dependable in his role.
What About the Return Men?
Both Gunnar Olszewski and Steven Sims will serve as the kickoff return men, in addition to splitting opportunities as punt returners. Olszewski was an All Pro in New England as a return man, so he has proven that he can be effective in such a role, while Sims is shifty and has the burst necessary to juke defenders, cut, and take it all of the way. With the talent the Steelers now have at both kick and punt return positions, the potential is there for consistent playmaking.
The Final Verdict
Putting it all together, this is a season of uncertainty for the Pittsburgh Steelers. A new quarterback, a retooled offensive line, young wide receivers, new starters on defense, new coaches, you get the picture. With all of that change, the question is, how will it all come together?
Many pundits do not believe the Steelers having a chance to put together a winning season in 2022, but that was also the sentiment last season during Ben Roethlisberger’s final year. The greatest challenges facing this team are a) the offensive line, b) cornerback, and c) inside linebacker. I do believe that the defensive line is healthy enough and is solidified with tested depth to return to at least slightly above average play, which should be enough to improve the running defense. On offense, the line is still a significant concern, but until a few regular season games are complete, I am hesitant to condemn the unit as being lesser than it was in 2022. Do we honestly believe that Trai Turner was better than James Daniels can be? Kendrick Green better than Mason Cole? Absolutely not. Which is why I believe it too premature to bury this unit just yet. If they underperform after the first three weeks, you know they are in trouble, but give them a chance.
The offense added speed at the wide receiver position, which was sorely needed, and now has a vertical element to stress defenses. Factor in the mobility of Mitch Trubisky, and the offense should be improved. Not that this team will be passing frequently, as Najee Harris will be the focal point of this offense. This team will commit to running the football, and it will be how they win games.
The trifecta of Cameron Heyward, Minkah Fitzpatrick, and TJ Watt will unify the defense and help to overcome deficiencies at corner and inside linebacker, but they will still be susceptible to big plays at times. We have seen what Cam Sutton can do at left cornerback, and the expectation is he improves this season, yet we don’t know what a full season as a starter will look like for Ahkello Witherspoon. At inside linebacker, the team desperately needs Devin Bush to regain his rookie year form, though it is uncertain whether or not that can happen. If he struggles, the coaching staff will not hesitate to pull him in favor of Robert Spillane, and possibly later in the season for rookie Mark Robinson.
The beginning part of the 2022 season will be critical for the team, both offensively and defensively, to become accustomed to one another, and understand how to function together as a whole, as training camp and the preseason do not forge the character of a team, the regular season does. Additionally, players who have had high expectations but have not yet met them must elevate their play and emerge to shore up and improve the positions that were areas of weakness last season. This may be asking too much.
At the end of the day, there is enough talent on this 2022 version of the Steelers for them to make a playoff run, and that is how I see things transpiring. Like last year, it won’t always be pretty, the team will have its warts, but with added speed at the receiver position, and hopeful improvements to the OL in the form of Cole and Daniels, Harris should assert himself as one of the top runners in the NFL.
The Steelers begin the season with some momentum before a rough patch in the middle of the year, followed by a rebound, good enough for a 10-7 record, and a Wild Card. If they make it that far, anything can happen.
Game By Game Prediction
Week 1: 9/11 at Bengals, 1 p.m., CBS
Week 2: 9/18 vs. Patriots, 1 p.m., CBS
Week 3: 9/22 at Browns (Thursday), 8:15 p.m., Amazon Prime Video
Week 4: 10/2 vs. Jets, 1 p.m., CBS
Week 5: 10/9 at Bills, 1 p.m., CBS
Week 6: 10/16 vs. Buccaneers, 1 p.m., Fox
Week 7: 10/23 at Dolphins, 8:20 p.m., NBC
Week 8: 10/30 at Eagles, 1 p.m., CBS
Week 9: BYE
Week 10: 11/13 vs. Saints, 1 p.m., Fox
Week 11: 11/20 vs. Bengals, 8:20 p.m., NBC
Week 12: 11/28 at Colts (Monday), 8:15 p.m., ESPN
Week 13: 12/4 at Falcons, 1 p.m., CBS
Week 14: 12/11 vs. Ravens, 1 p.m., ET
Week 15: 12/18 at Panthers, 1 p.m. CBS
Week 16: 12/24 vs. Raiders (Saturday), 8:15 p.m., NFL Network
Week 17: 1/1 at Ravens, 1 p.m., CBS
Week 18: 1/7 or 8 vs. Browns, TBD, TBD
Kansas City (Champ)
Los Angeles (WC2)
San Francisco (WC2)
Super Bowl Winner