Sunday December 4, 1:00pm - Bengals
Thursday December 8, 8:20pm - Browns
Monday December 19, 8:30pm - 49ers
Saturday December 24, 1:00pm - Rams
Just looking at that schedule you wouldn't think it's anything to be to terribly concerned about other than the 49ers game. The real issue here lies in the travel schedule and the lack of rest and prepartion coming up over the next 4 games...or does it?
The Bengals game at home won't be an issue from a preparation standpoint having just played on Sunday, even the late game in KC. The Browns are at home against the Ravens this Sunday which should leave them pretty beat up whether they win or not. The Steelers having a short week at least get to stay at home. Plus they know the Browns as well as anybody so from a preparation standpoint the main thing is to just get as much rest as you can and hope there are no significant injuries the game before.
There's a nice break before traveling out to San Francisco which really, really comes in handy after playing 2 games in less than a week. Those extra few days will help rest the bumps and bruises and allow them figure out the best way to attack the other Harbaugh.
Then after that Monday night game they fly home to play the Rams at Heinz Field on Saturday, Christmas eve. Beating the Rams should be no problem, in theory. St. Louis plays at home against the Bengals, who could be fighting for their playoff lives at that point so expect that to be a physical matchup.
All in all considering how many games the Steelers play over the next few weeks the traveling & schedule gods were pretty fair to them, atleast as much one can hope.
Having said all that I still don't like Thursday night games. There's so many injuries that happen and players can't recover from the week before. The NFL loves it because it pads their wallets. The networks love it because it's primetime football.