The Steelers (8-6) are hoping to get closer to locking up a wild AFC on the NFL playoffs last week. Instead, it was the Bills (10-4) that got a playoff run going to Pittsburgh and beat them.
The Ravens (12-2) have already put the AFC North aside, and their division is over last week. The Patriots (11-3) and AFC West 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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Seed predictions, matchups for AFC and NFC
So the Steelers look at seed no. 6 or stay at home for a second consecutive game after 0-3 in 2019. Here are the different ways they can maintain their precarious playoff position in the last two weeks of 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.
Should the Steelers reach 2-0, they will be in the playoffs ahead of the Titans, also 8-6 at Week 16. 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 Ravens key players resting if Baltimore blocks top AFC seed in Week 16.
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Steelers go 1-1 and Titans go 1-1 (lose to Texans)
The Steelers and Titans will be tied at 9-7. In this scenario, the Steelers will have a 7-5 conference record, and the Titans will be 6-6. The Steelers are still making the playoffs.
But he says the Steelers go 1-1, and the Titans 1-1 comes from the Saints losing but beating the Texans. Then both the Steelers and Titans would be 7-5 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.
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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 lost are a big possibility, as the Saints have a tough game at home before the road rematch with the Texans.
The Steelers, however, will have a problem if they go 0-2 while the Titans do the same. This means that the conference archives will be identical and the decisive factor will return to the power of victory, which is currently leaning in favor of Tennessee.
Bottom line: Anything less than a Steelers series that wins two races to end the season leaves the playoffs at odds and out of control.