The Steelers (8-7) were hoping to get close to locking up an AFC wild card slot in the NFL playoffs on Week 16. Instead, after seeing the Bills (10-5), they secured the top wild card ahead last week, the Steelers lost control of a playoff berth entering Week 17.
The Ravens (13-2) have already outscored the AFC North, shutting out the division last week and the top seed this week. The AFC East Patriots champions (11-3) and the AFC West championship champions (10-4) are two more guaranteed playoff teams. On Saturday, the Texans won the AFC South, winning a playoff spot and leaving only one available at the AFC.
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So the Steelers look at seed no. 6 or stay at home for a second consecutive game after the 0-3 start in 2019.
Here are the other ways they can save their hopes of falling into the playoffs in the final week of the regular season.
The Steelers beat the Ravens and the Titans to lose to the Texans in Week 17
The Steelers can no longer match the Titans, either 9-7 or 8-8, to make the playoffs. In these cases, both the Steelers and Titans would be either 7-5 or 6-6 in the AFC game. The next tiebreaker is common toys. That doesn’t help, because both teams will be 3-2.
It would then fall to the power of victory, where the Titans had the advantage, helped by their beating of the Chiefs and Saints, while two of the Steelers’ victories came from the Bengals.
The Steelers could recover from a loss to the Jets and defeat the Ravens to reach that point, trailing 9-7 while the Titans go 8-8.
The Titans losing to the Texans in Week 17 is a big possibility since Houston is still sowing.
MORE: Playoff scenarios for Week 16
Steelers lose to Ravens, Titans lose to Texans, Colts beat Jaguars in Week 17 (and Raiders lose once)
The Steelers can make the playoffs at 8-8, assuming the Titans have some company in the standings.
The Colts (7-8) can also reach that record, so can the Raiders (6-8), who fight the Chargers in Week 16 before playing the Broncos in Week 17.
Should the Steelers and Titans lose Week 17, the Colts would want to beat the Jaguars and Broncos to defeat the Raiders (unless Oakland is eliminated in Week 16).
A foursome .500 tie between the Steelers, Titans, Colts and Raiders goes to the Raiders. A three-dimensional tie between the Steelers, Titans and Raiders goes to the Titans. So without a win, the Steelers can only enter the 8-8 tie with the Titans and Colts.