Kovacevic: Fast start will rev up Steelers’ rebound

But then there's that schedule.

See, for all the other analysis that can be performed in predicting the Steelers' 2014 season, from Ben Roethlisberger being burdened by too many new targets to the running backs being dopes to the defensive front being too young to the secondary being too old, I keep coming back to the same thought: The cumulative winning percentage of the opponents on the 2014 schedule is .469, making for an eighth-place tie for the NFL's easiest.

The opening seven weeks alone afford an outstanding opportunity for a strong start, including both meetings with the Browns (4-12 last season), the Ravens (8-8), Buccaneers (4-12), Jaguars (4-12) and Texans (2-14), with the Panthers (12-4) providing the only winning record in the stretch.

The Steelers can't talk about that and, predictably, won't.

"Cleveland, man. We're talking Cleveland," fullback Will Johnson playfully shot back when I broached the topic Wednesday before practice. "I'll be honest: I don't know if I've even looked at the schedule. I just know we're opening with Cleveland. Nothing else I can speak to."

Fine, but I can and will: This schedule stinks. And especially the first half. There's no good reason not to start out 6-2, or 5-3 at the worst.

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