The Pittsburgh Steelers are coming off a win against the Green Bay Packers, 38-31. With that win the Steelers now display a 7-8 record and have a slight glimpse of hope when it comes to making the playoffs.
In order for the Steelers to make the postseason they must beat the Cleveland Browns at home on Sunday and the Baltimore Ravens, Miami Dolphins and San Diego Chargers all must lose.
The Steelers managed to beat the Packers behind the defense, who came up with a few big-time plays to gain the edge over the Aaron Rodgers-less cheese heads. Now the Steelers turn their attention to a Browns team that continues to struggle.
The Browns (4-11) are coming off a loss to the New York Jets 24-13. It may have been Jets rookie quarterback Geno Smith’s best game to date. Smith went 20 of 36 for 214 yards and two touchdowns. Smith also rushed for a touchdown and threw zero interceptions. After an interception-filled season for Smith, this is a good sign as the Jets have gained some mometum to close out their season.
This also helps the Steelers because the black and gold will look to depend on Smith and company come Sunday against the Dolphins.
The Steelers should be able to handle business against the Browns. Early in the season, the Steelers downed the Browns 27-11. With what’s at stake and playing at home, the Steelers should close out the regular season with a victory.
The Ravens are one of three teams the Steelers need to lose in the final week of the season. The Ravens will travel to Cinci to take on the Bengals. The Ravens, like the Steelers, are playing for their playoff lives. The Bengals have successfully locked up the AFC North, clinching a postseason berth.
Despite locking up a playoff berth the Bengals still have something to play for against the Ravens: a first round bye. If the Bengals can beat the Ravens, it’ll increase their chance of getting a first round bye over the New England Patriots. So don’t expect Andy Dalton and the gang to let the defending Super Bowl champs walk away with a win on Sunday.
The second team that needs to lose on Sunday is the Miami Dolphins. The Steelers were unable to get the job done against the Dolphins just a few weeks ago. The Dolphins swam out of Heinz Field with a victory over the Steelers, 34-28.
This game is going to be an interesting one. The Dolphins will square off against Rex Ryan’s Jets. The Jets are coming off a win over the Browns while the Dolphins were blanked by the Buffalo Bills 19-0.
This game in my mind is a complete toss up. A few weeks ago I’d say that the Dolphins wold be able to easily handle the Jets but after seeing them get shut out against a reeling Bills team I can’t say with full confidence the Jets will lose.
Smith may of had his best game yet against the Browns last week and if he continue to play at that level then the Dolphins will have their hands full. The Jets, though, have had a roller coaster season and their inconsistency is enough to scare Steelers Nation into believe the Dolphins will knock off the Jets this Sunday.
It’ll come down to which team what’s it more. The Dolphins playing for a playoff berth or Rex Ryan, who’s potentially coaching for his job.
Along with the Ravens and the Dolphins, the Chargers must also suffer a loss this Sunday.
The Chargers will host the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. What’s hurtful to the Steelers is that the Chiefs are playing for nothing. The Chiefs have locked up the first wild card spot in the AFC playoff picture and head coach Andy Reed might look to sit his starters and turn his attention to the postseason.
Meanwhile, the Chargers have everything to play for as their hopes for a playoff spot are still on the line as well. The Chiefs might come out lacking their starters while the Chargers will be in full force. If Reed elects to sit his starters, you got to believe the matchup favors the Chargers at home.
Certainly the deck is stacked against the Steelers and they need to just focus on winning against the Browns. Playoffs aren’t completely out of the question because anything can happen int he NFL, just ask the 1989 Steelers.
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