The silver lining in the Leftwich injury is that there is no longer a quarterback controversy. Dennis Dixon should be the QB until Big Ben returns in Week Six.
With the college football season starting this week and the real action just a days away, now seems like a good time to look ahead.
Ben probably couldn’t ask for a better setting to return to: at home versus Cleveland. The Week Five bye will give us two weeks of round-the-clock speculation before Ben steps in and leads the Steelers to a victory over their longest-hated rival. Just like that, things are back to normal very quickly.
The schedule-maker wasn’t too harsh for the first four games. A 2-2 record wouldn’t be terrible with Dixon, who has started one game in his career (he’s only played in two). Even better would be if those losses came against NFC opponents in Atlanta and Tampa Bay because the tie-breaker at the end of the season relies so heavily on divisional and conference records.
Week Four will be big: at home against Baltimore. The first AFC North opponent of the season comes at a time when the team has had three weeks to get things together.
After the bye and Ben returns there is a very important stretch: Cleveland, at Miami, at New Orleans on Sunday Night, at Cincinnati on Monday night, and back home against New England. The outcome of those five games will be critical.
They’ll be at home against Oakland and in Buffalo in Weeks Eleven and Twelve, before another big Sunday Night Game at Baltimore.
The final three games of the regular season will be at Heinz Field against Cincinnati, the Jets, and Carolina. The final game, being on a Thursday, will give them a few extra days to rest up for the playoffs.