After the Pittsburgh Steelers’ loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Thanksgiving night, the black and gold’s playoff hopes have dimmed.
Before losing to the Ravens, the Steelers controlled their own destiny. They needed to win and if they would’ve won out they would have snuck into the playoffs. Well, that’s not the case anymore. The loss to Baltimore, a divisional opponent, really threw a wrench into the Steelers’ chances of making the postseason.
Now they’ll have to win out and get a lot of help along the way.
First, we’ll see if the Steelers have what it takes to win out. The Miami Dolphins, Cincinnati Bengals, Green Bay Packers and Cleveland Browns are the teams that remain on the Steelers’ schedule.
The Dolphins game is going be very important. Miami is also in the hunt for the final wild card spot in the AFC. Forget about winning the division for the Steelers, that’s long gone. It’s all about the fight for the final wild card spot. With the Dolphins in the mix for the final spot, the Steelers have got to get a win over them. I believe the Steelers playing at home have what it takes to move past the Dolphins and get a step closer to sneaking into the playoffs.
After the Dolphins comes a Sunday night game at home against the Bengals. The Bengals have practically locked up the AFC North at this point, with the Steelers at 5-7 and Ravens at 6-6, the Bengals should walk away division champs at the end of the season. This game is important because once again the Steelers have to win it to stay alive. They’d also pick up a divisional win which could factor into a tiebreaker down the road.
The only advantage the Steelers have in this game is playing at home. The Steelers definitely have what it takes to beat the Bengals but it won’t be easy at all. The Steelers, especially this season, have played very disappointingly at times and I wouldn’t put it past them to come out and play lousy against a good Bengals team. This game’s up in the air: if the Steelers play like the Steelers that beat up on the Jets and Browns then they can get a win, but if they play like they did against the Vikings or Patriots then they’ll get whipped on their home field.
After the Bengals matchup comes a road game at Green Bay. Green Bay has been reeling ever since quarterback Aaron Rodgers went down with a injury, stumbling to a 5-6-1 record. Rodgers is still being evaluated for that game but I expect him to be back sooner rather than later.
If the Steelers go into this game and Rodgers is still unable to go, I think they get a close win. However, if Rodgers is good to go, then the Steelers are in trouble. The quarterback can really make all the difference and I believe that’ll be the case in this one.
Last, the Steelers host the Brown in the final regular season game. We saw what happened last time these two teams met, the Steelers walked away 27-11 winners. Regardless of what the Steelers are playing for that week, they should be able to end their season with a win over the Browns.
The Steelers don’t have the easiest schedule to win out and if they don’t win out, all hopes are gone. Even if they do win out, they need a lot of help along the way too. After this past week of games, they actually did get some much-needed help.
A lot of teams are gunning for the final wild card spot and losing isn’t an option for any of them. Right now, the Ravens have the final spot in the playoffs. Behind them are the Dolphins, Tennessee Titans and then the Steelers.
The Dolphins beat the Jets on Sunday, knocking the Jets to the bottom of the hunt. The Bengals knocked off the Chargers which also helps the Steelers. The Titans also fell to the Indianapolis Colts, another helpful loss for the Steelers.
The Steelers need the Ravens to lose some more games along with the Titans. First though, the Steelers must beat Miami, which is a big game for both squads.
Assuming the Steelers can take care of the Dolphins, then looking at three contending team’s schedules (Steelers, Ravens and Titans) this thing could really come down to the wire. The Ravens schedule has the Vikings, Lions, Patriots and Bengals. That’s no easy street for the Ravens. The Titans have the Denver Broncos, Arizona Cardinals, Jacksonville Jaguars and the Houston Texans. All but the Denver game I think are winnable for the Titans so they may just have the easiest path among the three teams. A lot of help is needed across the board for the Steelers, it’ll be a long shot but there’s some hope.
Right now the Steelers just need to win and let the cards fall wherever they may when the season ends. Focus on beating Miami Sunday and win out, then we’ll see where it goes.