PITTSBURGH - It starts tonight in Denver and ends on Dec. 30 at Heinz Field with the annual sacrificial visit from the Cleveland Browns.
Who knows what twists and turns will be confronted between those bookends of the Pittsburgh Steelers' 80th year?
From here, it looks like 10-6. They have too much talent to lose a lot, and too many question marks to be considered a serious Super Bowl contender.
The yearly questions about the offensive line are as relevant as ever with No. 1 draft pick David DeCastro on injured reserve for at least part of the season. The receivers are talented, and the quarterback is Ben Roethlisberger. But is there enough depth and talent at running back to satisfy the lawyer/owner's request for more of a ground game?
And will Roethlisberger be on the same page with offensive coordinator Todd Haley's new playbook? Big Ben is already in trouble with part of Steeler Nation for saying he will miss a game to be present for the birth of his first child. (If ever a baby should be Tuesday's child, it's Little Ben).
The defense is in transition, and some new and unfamiliar names have to step up. For as much pain as he dishes out, it seems as though James Harrison is always confronting injury issues of his own.
The schedule is challenging, with games at Oakland, Tennessee, the New York Giants and Dallas. Add it all up, shake it out and 10-6 seems about right - at least before the first snap.
There's a concept called speed dating where people get together for less than 10 minutes and conclude whether they're compatible for a longer match.
Pitt has borrowed the idea and determined in just six days that this is going to be an awfully long football season.
In addition to two ugly losses, coach Paul Chryst had to suspend six players before the first game and - get this - spies report a female fan was hit in the head by a flying football upon entering Heinz Field for the season opener.
By the time Rutgers visits for the home finale on Nov. 24, errant footballs will probably only be hitting empty seats.
Another quick answer
People have been asking all week, can Brock Holt play shortstop? The answer is no.
If he could, the Pirates would have had him there all season. They like his bat, but there's nobody in the organization who views him as a regular major league shortstop.
Dressed for success
The Steelers announced they'll wear their horrendous 1934-era striped throwback uniforms for the Nov. 18 home game against Baltimore.
The Ravens will be laughing too hard to block and tackle.
Mehno can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org