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Pittsburgh Steelers playoff scenarios: Black and Gold can still win AFC North

Devin Hodges of the Pittsburg Steelers
Devlin Hodges is the new starting quarterback for the Black and Gold. Pic credit: Pittsburgh Steelers/YouTube

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ playoff scenarios are pretty complicated, but the team still controls most of its own destiny. If they win their final four games of the regular season, they make the NFL playoffs.

Finishing at 11-5 will put the Steelers in the playoffs, no matter what else happens around the league. At worst, they would then secure a Wild Card spot, but the team also still has a shot at a first-round bye.

That last sentence may have made Steelers detractors laugh a bit, especially with how the season has gone for the Black and Gold. Despite being without Antonio Brown, Le’Veon Bell, and Ben Roethlisberger, the Steelers still have the opportunity to make a lot of noise.

Pittsburgh Steelers playoff scenarios: They could win AFC North

In the AFC North, the Baltimore Ravens lead the way with a 10-2 record. That puts them three games ahead of the Steelers (7-5) with four games left on the schedule. Easy math states that the Steelers finishing 11-5 and the Ravens ending up 10-6 nets the Steelers an AFC North title.

Try this additional scenario on for size. Assuming the above scenario takes place, also assume that the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Denver Broncos, Los Angeles Chargers, and Chicago Bears, but lose to the New England Patriots to finish at 11-5. Let’s also assume the Tenneessee Titans win-out, finishing 11-5 as well.

In that above scenario, the Steelers would be the No. 2 seed in the AFC playoffs. Want to really play around? If the Patriots lose their other three games to finish 11-5 and the Buffalo Bills also finish 11-5 with these game results, the Steelers suddenly become the No. 1 seed in the AFC.

Six teams with 11-5 records in the AFC would certainly be something and it would definitely drive fans crazy trying to figure out all the tiebreakers. But despite all the chaos that might take place, the Steelers are actually in a very good position to make the NFL playoffs.

The biggest advantage that the Steelers have down the stretch is that the Tennessee Titans and Houston Texans play each other twice. It limits the number of wins the teams can get.

Only one of the Titans or Texans can get to 11 wins, so one team could win the AFC South at 11-5 and the other team would have to settle for a 10-6 record.

There is also a possible scenario where the Steelers secure a Wild Card at 10-6. If they lose to the Ravens to post that record, they would then just need the Titans to lose one more game this season. So, if the Titans and Texans split their two games and the Steelers go 3-1 down the stretch, the Steelers are still in.

Things will start to settle down after we all know the results from the NFL action in Week 14. What we do know is that the Pittsburgh Steelers need to beat the Arizona Cardinals to improve to 8-5 and start making the NFL playoff scenarios look a little clearer. They then have to deal with the Buffalo Bills, New York Jets, and Baltimore Ravens to close out the season.


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