NFL Schedule Release: Predicting Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2014 Record

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Week 3 at Carolina Panthers

Kickoff Time: 8:30 pm (Sunday Night)

Network: NBC

Jan 12, 2014; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) with the ball during the first quarter of the 2013 NFC divisional playoff football game at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

This is a tough matchup for the Steelers as the Panthers will boast one of the top defenses in the NFL and have an improving young quarterback in Cam Newton, who led Carolina to a 12-4 record a season ago.

The Panthers are also very tough at home, losing just one game at Bank of America Stadium.

Ultimately Luke Kuechly and company will have success pressuring Roethlisberger, as the Panthers recorded 60 sacks last season. They also will be able to contain Le’Veon Bell and the Steelers ground game.

The Steelers defense may be improved but the Panthers defense has the chance to be one of the best in the NFL in 2014.

That will be the difference.

Prediction: Panthers 20-13 (1-2)

Week 4 vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Kickoff Time: 1:00 pm

Network: FOX

The Bucs have a new head coach in Lovie Smith and will likely take the field with Josh McCown under center.

While McCown completed 66.5 percent of his passes in 2013, and threw 13 touchdowns to just one interception, he won’t find much success at Heinz Field.

Tampa Bay  has talent on both sides of the ball but the Steelers are the more talented team and I doubt the rebuilding Bucs will be able to put it all together by Week 4.

This is still a team that was last in the NFL in total offense last year and 17th in the league in defense.

On paper, Pittsburgh shouldn’t have a problem here.

Prediction: Steelers 31-17 (2-2)