Steelers still on top of AFC heading into Ravens showdown

Robert Spillane of the Pittsburgh Steelers Mandatory Credit: Mitchell Layton-USA TODAY Sports
Robert Spillane of the Pittsburgh Steelers Mandatory Credit: Mitchell Layton-USA TODAY Sports /

The Pittsburgh Steelers got the job done in Jacksonville on Sunday, avoiding a  look-ahead spot and slip-up against the 1-8 Jaguars, running out 27-3 victors.

What the Steelers had to look ahead to was blood rival Baltimore down the pike, who are coming to Heinz Field Sunday. The Ravens, at 6-4, are, to put it lightly, a little banged up. They faced the Tennessee Titans at home last weekend and were retraumatized by Derrick Henry, as the Alabama product rumbled down the field in overtime to walk off and give the Titans the win.

Covid-19 has also ravaged Baltimore’s facility. Their headquarters briefly closed on Monday after positive tests that turned out to impact running backs Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins, who will potentially miss Sunday’s game. CBS Sports reports that the team is currently dealing with ten positive tests.

To make matters worse, the loss to Tennessee pushed Baltimore out of the playoff picture. They currently sit at eighth, headlining the “On the Bubble” segment of’s playoff picture.

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The Steelers, for their part, are still undefeated, and as the conference’s (and the league’s) only undefeated team, still occupy the number-one spot in the AFC playoff picture. They and the Kansas City Chiefs, the current number two, would get first-round byes if the season ended today.

It never fails to surprise the eye to see the Buffalo Bills so high on a list like this at this point in the year, but Tom Brady isn’t walking through the door at Gillette Stadium anytime soon, so a successor must rise. As it stands, they would host… the 7-3 Cleveland Browns in the first round. I’ll give you a minute to collect yourself after reading that. You good?

I know, it’s a crazy year, like you didn’t know that already. Over on the college side of things, Cincinnati and Northwestern sit ahead of recruiting powerhouse, and SEC stalwart Georgia in the rankings. Here, we’ve got a very real shot at a battle of Lake Erie in the playoffs. Up is down, left is right, and as a famous Clevelander once said, everything’s made up and the points don’t matter.

(Psst, the implication here is the Ravens trail the Browns in the standings, pass it on!)

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The final playoff matchup as things stand puts the Titans against the Indianapolis Colts, who survived a barrage of penalties last week to win a dogfight against the Green Bay Packers off the toe of Rodrigo Blankenship. Sign me up for more playoff Derrick Henry.