There are two weeks to go in the NFL season and the Steelers playoff chances boil down to this, beat the Ravens or risk missing the playoffs. The Eagles had a chance to make this game irrelevant by beating Baltimore last Sunday. Unfortunately they were unsuccessful with a last second 2 point conversion, and ended up losing by a single point. Now we are faced with a loser leaves town game on Christmas day. While Pittsburgh would still have an outside chance at a wild card, the best route to the post season is the getting the AFC North title wrapped up this weekend. Here’s a look at the remaining games for the playoff contenders:
1. PATRIOTS (12-2) Jets, @Dolphins
2. DOLPHINS (9-5) @Bills, Patriots
1. STEELERS (9-5) Ravens, Browns
2. RAVENS (8-6) @Steelers, @Bengals
1. TEXANS (8-6) Bengals, @Titans
2. TITANS (8-6) @Jaguars, Texans
3. COLTS (7-7) @Raiders, Jaguars
1. RAIDERS (11-3) Colts, @Broncos
2. CHIEFS (10-4) Broncos, @Chargers
3. BRONCOS (8-6) @ Chiefs, Raiders
If the Steelers win the AFC North, they would most likely end up the three seed entering the playoffs. There is an outside chance at the two seed, if the Chiefs were to come back and win the AFC West. Pittsburgh owns the tie breaker versus Kansas City in that scenario. The wild card picture goes as follows for the Steelers. Right now Kansas City owns the first wild card spot, is one game clear of the pack. At this point Miami would need to lose both remaining games in order for Pittsburgh to beat them out of a wild card spot. The Dolphins hold the tie breaker after the drubbing they put on the Steelers in week 6. Denver, on the other hand, could very well fall out of the wild card race in the coming weeks. They have two tough games remaining, at Kansas City and home to the division leading Raiders. Pittsburgh would win the tie breaker against Denver due to a better conference record. Finally, we have the crazy AFC South. Because the Titans and Texans play each other one last time, the loser of the division race is assured their 7th loss. This means in order to get a wild card spot, they would need Pittsburgh to lose both remaining games. This is not very likely given the Steelers final game is against the winless Browns.
Best case scenario is the Steelers win out, and get a shot at the two seed. That would earn them a bye in the first round, and avoid playing the Patriots until the AFC Championship. Either with a division title or fighting for a wild card Steeler fans should root hard for Kansas City in the final two weeks. We want them to win the AFC West, and knock the Broncos out of the playoffs in the process.