Well, the Pittsburgh Steelers finally managed to win a game.Â They nearly killed me in the process, and it took every last second of the game, but they beat the Green Bay Packers in thrilling fashion to keep their slim playoff hopes alive.
Was it disturbing that the defense was clearly incapable of stopping the Packers and Coach Tomlin knew that and hence his decision to try an onside kick? Yes, it was.Â Troy Polomalu’s absence is a killer in the middle of the secondary and big plays happen there with tragic regularity.
But that the Steelers came up with the plays they needed to win helps take the pain away from knowing the defense just isn’t up to its usual standards.
The Steelers playoff scenario as I understand it below.
I think this is an accurate explanation of the way the Steelers can make the playoffs:
1) Steelers win out, going 9-7
2) Ravens lose to the Steelers and win their other two, going 9-7.
3) Dolphins lose to the Steelers, going 9-7 (or worse).
4) Jets lose at least two of their last three (ATL, @IND, CIN), going 8-8.
5) Jaguars lose at least one of their last two (@NE, @CLE), going 8-8.
6) Tennessee and Houston each lose at least one more (both play Miami), going 8-8.
7) Denver loses at least two of their last three (OAK, @PHI, KC), going 9-7.
To figure out the #5 seed, you’d compare Baltimore, Miami and Denver. All three would have conference records of 7-5, so it goes to common opponents (NE, PIT, IND, SD). Miami has a record of 1-4 against those four teams, and Baltimore and Denver would each be 2-3. So you drop Miami, and Baltimore gets the top spot because Baltimore beat Denver head-to-head.
To figure out the #6 seed, you’d compare Miami, Pittsburgh and Denver. Pittsburgh will have won head-to-head against both teams, so they would get the last playoff spot.
This is not a slam dunk but it is certainly possible:
- Jets lost to Atlanta so all we need is a loss to either Indy or Cinci.
- Denver lost to Oakland and has a tough game against Philly.
- New England will play a big role as they play the Jags and Texans. I will be rooting for the Pats.
- The Titans have a tough game against a surging Chargers team.
If all the 7-7 teams lose one except for the Steelers that leaves the Ravens and Broncos. If Steelers tie with Ravens they lose thanks to division record. If they tie with Broncos they win because of head to head. But I think it all three tie at 9-7 then the Steelers and Ravens would win because they both beat Denver.
But first things first.Â The Steelers have to beat the Ravens!