Pittsburgh Steelers: Tough start, road-heavy finish
While the Ravens face a relatively gentle start to their schedule, the Steelers will need to come out the gates charging to keep pace.
Pittsburgh opens the season on the road in New England, where the Patriots will be celebrating their Super Bowl win on Sunday Night Football. The Steelers have never beaten Tom Brady in New England (0-5). They then return home to face the Seattle Seahawks.
Baltimore's first two games (at Miami, vs. Arizona) are against teams who combined for 10 wins last season. The Steelers will face teams who combined for more than twice that many (21) in 2018.
Pittsburgh will get a nice midseason relief, as they have only one road trip between Weeks 4-10, including a bye. But that means they'll finish with five of their last seven games coming on the road, including the regular-season finale in Baltimore.
The Steelers have three West Coast trips (at Chargers, at 49ers, at Cardinals), and will have to face the division rival Browns just four days after returning from Los Angeles. That doesn't bode well for a team that historically struggles out West, writes the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Adam Bittner.
Cleveland Browns: Primetime heavy at the start
The Browns have been the most buzzworthy team of the offseason, and the league (and networks) showed their fascination by giving Cleveland four primetime games, including three in the first five weeks of the season.
Cleveland will play on Monday Night Football against the New York Jets in Week 2, followed by Sunday Night Football against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 3. There's a Week 4 tilt vs. Baltimore sandwiched between yet another Monday Night Football game in San Francisco in Week 5.
The spotlight will be on the Browns, and it will be interesting to see how they adjust to it, especially if things don't go the way many fans and pundits expect with more wins.
ESPN's Pat McManamon, who predicts an 11-5 finish, is already saying their schedule sets up for a late-season playoff push with the Dolphins, Cardinals and two games against the Bengals in the final six weeks. Tilts against division rivals Pittsburgh and Baltimore are sprinkled in there as well.
Cincinnati Bengals: Tough start for Cincy
The Bengals will play three of their first four games on the road, beginning in Seattle, then in Buffalo and Pittsburgh in Weeks 3 and 4. A slow start for Cincy could put them behind in the AFC North standings early on, and will provide a great challenge for new Head Coach Zac Taylor.
Taylor will take his team to Los Angeles to face his former Rams in Week 8, but the Bengals' schedule doesn't have many sexy matchups. The league only gave the Bengals one primetime game, on Monday Night Football in Week 4 from Pittsburgh.