PITTSBURGH – The NFL is playing Grinch to the Steelers for the second consecutive season.
After playing a home game on Christmas Day against the Baltimore Ravens in 2016, the Steelers learned Thursday they will play on that holiday for the second consecutive year. Only this time around, the game will be played on the road, at Houston.
The NFL released its 2017 schedule on Thursday and it included Pittsburgh traveling to Houston to face the defending AFC South champions for a Monday game on Christmas Day. The game is scheduled to start at 4:25 p.m.
Steelers 2017 schedule
Sep. 10 - at Cleveland Browns 1 p.m.
Sep. 17 - Minnesota Vikings 1 p.m.
Sep. 24 - at Chicago Bears 1 p.m.
Oct. 1 - at Baltimore Ravens 1 p.m.
Oct. 8 - Jacksonville Jaguars 1 p.m.
Oct. 15 - at Kan. City Chiefs 4:25 p.m.
Oct. 22 - Cincinnati Bengals 1 p.m.
Oct. 29 - at Detroit Lions 8:30 p.m.
Nov. 5 - BYE
Nov. 12 - at Indianapolis Colts 1 p.m.
Nov. 16 - Tennessee Titans 8:25 p.m.
Nov. 26 - Green Bay Packers 8:30 p.m.
Dec. 4 - at Cincinnati Bengals 8:30 p.m.
Dec. 10 - Baltimore Ravens 8:30 p.m.
Dec. 17 - N. England Patriots 4:25 p.m.
Dec. 25 - at Houston Texans 4:30 p.m.
Dec. 31 - Cleveland Browns 1:00 p.m.
The Steelers had never before played a game on Christmas Day in their history until last season.
In addition to playing on Christmas last season, the Steelers also played on Thanksgiving and New Years days, though both of those games were at home.
Pittsburgh is coming off am 11-5 season that saw it win the AFC North and advance to the AFC Championship, where New England handed the Steelers a 37-17 defeat.
The Christmas Day game is the only holiday on which the Steelers will play this season. But the schedule does have its challenges.
Pittsburgh plays three of its first four games on the road. The Steelers open at Cleveland Sept. 10, then host the Vikings Sept. 17 before heading on the road to face Chicago Sept. 24 and Baltimore Oct. 1.
They they then play Jacksonville at home Oct. 8 in a 1 p.m. game before heading to Kansas City Oct. 15 for a 4:25 p.m. game that is a rematch of th Steelers’ Divisional playoff win over the Chiefs last season.
They then come home for just the third time in the first half of the season for a 1 p.m. game Oct. 19 against Cincinnati.
The Steelers will play most of their road games in the first half of the season. Six of Pittsburgh’s first nine games are on the road, while they close out the regular season with five of seven games at home.
A healthy portion of those games in the second half, however, are prime time contests.
While the Steelers’ first five games are all 1 p.m. starts, starting in Week 8, when they travel to Detroit for a Sunday night game before their Week 9 bye, the Steelers have just two games in the second half of the season that are early starts.
Nov. 12, they play at Indianapolis in a 1 p.m. game then host Tennessee for a Thursday night contest Nov. 16. Green Bay then comes to Pittsburgh for a Sunday night game Nov. 26 before the Steeles head to Cincinnati for a Monday night game.
Dec. 10, the Steelers host Baltimore for a Sunday night game, then play the Patriots in a nationally televised CBS game at home (4:25 p.m.).
Pittsburgh closes out its regular season schedule with a 1 p.m. game New Years Eve at home against Cleveland.