Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 8/19/12
First, as well as Steeler Nation travels -- every game is a home game for the AFC North juggernaut.

It is also tempting to suggest that Week 2 against the New York Jets will be the biggest home game of the season.

It will be a chance for the Steelers to exact revenge on Tim Tebow for last year's playoff anomaly. 

But then you are reminded that regardless of all the hype, Tebow is the second-string quarterback and special teams player. 

Tebowmania will not have reached its apex by the second week and he therefore will not have replaced Mark Sanchez. 

So let the circus that is the New York Jets come into Heinz Field, we got that.

Realistically the biggest home game will be Week 5 against the Philadelphia Eagles. Although early in the season and fresh off a bye week, this game matters. It matters most because it will be the first real test for the Steelers. The Steelers will enter the game against the Eagles unbeaten at 3-0. They will leave the game 3-1. 

Week 1: Sunday night game against the Peyton Manning-led Denver Broncos. The Steelers will wash out that bitter taste of defeat from last year's playoff game right from the start.

And while the Broncos are much improved with the addition of Manning, this will also be Manning's first real game. The timing with his receivers will not be the finely tuned machine we are used to seeing. And everyone will be bracing for the first real hit Manning takes. 

Week 2: New York Jets visit Heinz Field. Although there has been much hype surrounding the Jets in reality they have not upgraded. When cornerback Antonio Cromartie is also the self-proclaimed second best wide receiver on the team, there are problems. 

When your second-string quarterback is defending GQ poses, playing on special teams and learning super- duper secret wildcat formations he has a lot on his plate. The Jets provide many opportunities to defeat themselves before the first snap. The Steelers will let them implode being the recipient of this win. 

Week 3: Steelers fly west to visit the Oakland Raiders. If Darren McFadden is still healthy then this game will be interesting. Otherwise Carson Palmer has yet to find his accuracy or a capable receiver other than McFadden.   

Last year Palmer played 10 games.  He passed for 13 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. The preseason looks to be more of the same. Steelers' defense will be looking to pad their numbers. 

While the wide receivers, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Jacoby Ford and Denarius Moore are fast enough, they have problems running their routes and holding onto the ball. It will be feast time for the Steelers' defensive squad. 

Week 4: Bye week

Week 5: The Philadelphia Eagles fly into Heinz Field.

Is there any team more athletically-gifted than the Eagles? On both offensive and defensive sides of the ball you will not find a better collection of athletes. Yet, they cannot manage to harness those athletic gifts during a complete football season. 
  
The Eagles are notorious for being slow starters. Over the past five years their best record after five games is 3-2. 

The Eagles first four games include: the Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens, Arizona Cardinals and New York Giants. Under normal circumstances the prediction would be 2-2 for the Eagles. But these are not normal circumstances. This year the Eagles are playing on talent and emotion. Playing in-state rival will only add fuel to the fire. 

By Week 5 the Steelers and Todd Haley's offensive schemes should be comfortable with one another. But the Eagles' defense will also have had preseason and five games with defensive coordinator Juan Castillo. 

Defensive line coach Jim Washburn and his "Wide-Nine" will have Ben Roethlisberger once again scrambling for his life. This will render Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders and Heath Miller inept for this game. 

Rashard Mendenhall, Isaac Redman, Jonathan Dwyer and Chris Rainey will be asked to pick up the slack. Unless the Eagles learn how to tackle, the Steelers' running backs will keep the game close.  But a healthy Michael Vick will join with LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson causing chaos in the Steelers' defense. 
  
This game will be close but the Eagles will emerge with a victory.



 

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