The Steelers (8-6) were hoping to approach the lockdown of an AFC wild-card spot on Sunday night. By contrast, the Bills (10-4) seized a playoff spot by coming to Pittsburgh and beating them 17-10 in the NFL Week 15 penultimate game.
The Ravens (12-2) have already put the AFC North out of hand, closing out the win to open Week 15. The Patriots (11-3) and West Chiefs (10-4) are two more guaranteed AFC playoffs. team’s. For the time being, the South-Texans (9-5) will also be inside.
So the Steelers look at seed no. 6 or stay at home for a second straight after fifth after 2019. Here are the different ways they can maintain their precarious playoff position in the last two weeks of the regular season:
The Steelers win
The Steelers have a game against Le’Veon Bell and the Jets (5-9) on the road in Week 16. They will also leave Pittsburgh to play the Ravens in Week 17.
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Should the Steelers reach 2-0, they will be in the playoffs ahead of the Titans, also 8-6 after Week 15. The Steelers will finish with an 8-4 record in this case. The best the Titans can do is 7-5. A Week 16 win will eventually eliminate the Browns and Raiders, both 6-8.
The Jets are a team the Steelers should beat and the Steelers could take a break with the key players in the Ravens if Baltimore locks the top seed of the AFC with a Week 16 win over the Browns.
The Steelers go 1-1 and the Titans go 1-1, losing to the Texans
The Steelers and Titans will be tied at 9-7. In this scenario, the Steelers have a 7-5 conference record and the Titans are 6-6, and the Steelers still make the playoffs.
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But they say the Steelers go 1-1 and the Titans 1-1 come from losing to the Saints but beating the Texans. Then both the Steelers and Titans are 7-5 in the AFC game. The next tiebreaker is common toys. That doesn’t help, because the teams are every 3-2 there. He would then fall to the power of victory, where the Titans had the advantage of helping defeat the Chiefs and Saints while two of the Steelers’ victories came from the Bengals.
The Steelers go 1-1 and the Titans go 0-2
The Steelers could split with the Jets and Ravens this way, finishing 9-7 while the Titans go 8-8. The Titans being lost is a big possibility, as the Saints have a very tough home game before the road rematch with the Texans.
The Steelers, however, have a problem if they go 0-2 while the Titans do the same. This means that the conference records are identical and the decisive factor goes back to the power of victory, which is currently leaning in favor of the Titans.
The downside is that anything less than a Steelers win to end the season leaves the playoffs at odds and out of control.