The Pittsburgh Steelers have inched their way closer to the playoffs each week since their bye. Here are the only things that must happen for them to enter the post-season.
Who would have thought the Pittsburgh Steelers could make it this far after the start they had? Entering their Week 9 bye, Mike Tomlin’s team was just 2-6, and it seemed like only a matter of time before they were officially out of the post-season running.
Remarkably, this team has done a complete one-eighty since the bye and now sits on an 8-8 record entering the final game of the season. In my preseason game-by-game predictions, I originally had the Steelers going 9-8 this year, but I have to admit that I very much doubted this after their dismal start.
Before the start of Week 17 games on New Year’s day, the Steelers were given just a 3 percent chance of making the playoffs, according to FiveThirtyEight. Now those odds have skyrocketed all the way up to a 21 percent chance. Only three things need to go their way in the final week of the season for Pittsburgh to officially enter the playoffs.
1. Steelers must beat the Browns
This is a given, considering Pittsburgh’s current state. At 8-8, Mike Tomlin and the Steelers will officially be eliminated if they lose to the Cleveland Browns at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time this week. Fortunately, Tomlin’s team has much more to play for.
The Steelers have been red hot since the bye and they have momentum on their side. The Browns, meanwhile, have been eliminated from playoff contention at 7-10 and they haven’t won more than two games in a row at any point this season.
With essentially nothing to play for this week except draft positioning, Cleveland might be wise to rest some of their players in a meaningless season finale. We know how badly Mike Tomlin is going to want this game, and the team knows it’s a must to get into the post-season.