The Pittsburgh Steelers have a few options as to where they’ll take their playoff hunt, all of which will likely be decided against New Orleans.
The Saints proved in Week 15 that they certainly can be beat. The Steelers proved they can certainly beat anyone. But as they square off against each other, they’ll be hunting for two different outcomes for their playoff futures.
For the Saints, a win over the Steelers locks them in as the top seed in the NFC. Homefield advantage goes a long way, especially when you’re thinking about meeting the LA Rams before the Super Bowl.
In Pittsburgh, they’re simply looking to keep their AFC North title in check. A win this week would all but seal the deal as they take on the injured Cincinnati Bengals in their final regular season game.
Winning the final two games most likely won’t change their playoff seed unless the Patriots continue to lose. Chances are, they’ll stick with the fourth seed and go into the playoffs with one home game before moving on to Kansas City.
If they lose, they’re looking at the outside. Baltimore is taking on the Chargers in Week 16, leaving no guarantee they come out with a win. A win for the Steelers and a loss for the Ravens clears up the path to the playoffs, removing any doubt they’d lose their Division title.
Pittsburgh could win out and find a way to leap frog New England, and at this point, that’s the goal. The fans were, without a doubt, a deal breaker in Week 15. Media member after media member were tweeting about how loud the stadium was. If it comes down to the Pats vs Steelers in the AFC title game, Pittsburgh wants to be in Heinz Field.
There isn’t much more they can do. Houston isn’t dropping to the third seed and whoever comes out on top of the AFC West is staring homefield advantage right in the face. Moving from fourth to third is a win on their spectrum.
It comes down to New Orleans, though. Beating New England gave them a chance to slightly alter their future. They need to continue riding this momentum and climb one more seed before the postseason starts.