Making the playoffs certainly won’t be easy, but the Pittsburgh Steelers still have a shot. Here’s what they have to do the rest of the way.
Clinching a division title is a crucial part of becoming Super Bowl champions. Separation in the AFC North is visible but not enough to crown a winner in Week 12. All four franchises are experiencing growing pains – providing the Steelers with an opportunity to sneak into the bracket.
If you asked Steelers fans two weeks ago about their chances of making the playoffs, many replied with low odds. An impressive win on Monday Night Football changed the narrative for optimistic fans who believes the Steelers still have a chance.
Competing until the last week of the season presents hardworking teams with an opportunity to make the bracket. Help from other franchises opens the doors for a late playoff entrance. If the Ravens, Browns, and Bengals experience consecutive losses, the Steelers’ playoff odds increase. Pittsburgh’s divisional record is the worst among the group, but their schedule provides a chance to make up ground.
Steelers must win their scheduled games to have a chance at the playoffs
The upcoming opponents on the schedule are tough but are beatable. Pittsburgh is ranked twenty-second in remaining strength of schedule (.456) – shining a ray of hope on fans who remain optimistic about the season. Exhibitions against the Raiders, Ravens, Browns, and Panthers are also par for the course. Three divisional matchups will give Pittsburgh a chance to improve their division record – helping their odds of clinching the title.
Losing is not an option for Pittsburgh if their goal is to reach the playoffs. The next stretch of games will require all players to elevate their play – including rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett. No.8 continues to show promise as the season progresses. Pickett has thrown for 638 yards without an interception in the last three games. Extending plays with his legs has helped the young quarterback lead his team to a 2-1 record. Momentum is rising while Pickett is getting comfortable in his new role.
Steelers have work to do regardless of playoff berth
Relying on a rookie quarterback to single-handedly advance his team to the playoffs is unrealistic. Mike Tomlin must have all hands on deck to try at a late playoff run. Assistance from Teryl Austin’s defensive unit will help assist with what many believe is unachievable. This season, Pittsburgh ranks twenty-fourth in points allowed per game (23.7) and twenty-first in yards allowed. Adding T.J. Watt back into the starting lineup will help Pittsburgh’s defense shut down opponents – resulting in better averages and hopefully a playoff berth.
Clinching the playoffs would be a bonus for a Steelers squad with a heavy workload of improvements in-store. Their production on the field earlier this season brought their weaknesses to the light – causing fans to wonder what is to come next season. A mid-season resurgence has helped Pittsburgh refocus. With enough effort and help, the Steelers could find themselves in the playoff picture.