Steelers playoff chances only microscopically increase entering Week 16
Fans were hoping that the win over the Panthers would boost Pittsburgh’s playoff odds. Sadly, the victory in Week 15 hardly moves the needle.
Technically, the Pittsburgh Steelers are still mathematically in the AFC playoff hunt. After defeating the Carolina Panthers in Week 15, Mike Tomlin’s team advanced to 6-8 on the season — putting them two games back from the final two Wild Card spots. Unfortunately, their chances of making the tournament are much slimmer than they sound.
While the Steelers could finish with a 9-8 record if they win their final three games, it would require multiple losses from the Chargers, Dolphins, Patriots, and Jets to get in the playoffs this year. In addition, the Jaguars, Raiders, and Browns are tied with the Steelers at 6-8, but Pittsburgh is the lowest seed because of tiebreakers.
Though they can control their fate in matchups against the Raiders and Browns, they can’t do so with the Jaguars, and if Jacksonville was to win out, this is yet another team who would finish ahead of Pittsburgh in the standing.
Considering there are only three games left, this isn’t enough time for the standings to shift significantly enough to truly give Pittsburgh a chance. The results of Week 15 didn’t help either, as a Jets win made things more difficult.
Steelers playoff chances are remarkably grim despite recent win
Last week, the Pittsburgh Steelers were given just a 0.2 percent chance of making the playoffs, according to FiveThirtyEight.com. Entering Week 16, those odds have increased ever so slightly. Now they have just a 0.3 percent chance of making the tournament.
This is incredibly discouraging for a team that has actually been pretty decent since the bye week. Tomlin’s team has gone 4-2 since the break, and they’ve essentially missed their starting quarterback for two full games during this time.
Sadly, the disheartening loss to the Baltimore Ravens truly was the final nail in the coffin of Pittsburgh’s 2022 season. Had Mitch Trubisky not had a three-interception performance, we would probably be looking at the Steelers as a 7-7 team that has gone 5-1 since the bye. While this, by no means, would have guaranteed them a spot in the playoffs, it certainly would have increased their odds.
Now even in the event that Pittsburgh wins all three games down the stretch and finishes with a 9-8 record and every other game goes their way, they would have an 87 percent chance of making the playoffs, but the odds that the Chargers, Jets, Raiders, and Browns each go 0-3 in their final games is essentially zero.
Some fans will be rooting for momentum down the stretch, while others will be hoping that the Pittsburgh Steelers will improve their draft positioning. Either way, their recent win against the Panthers didn’t do nearly enough to boost their playoff chances.