AFC Playoff Picture Week 18: Steelers are in the hunt, but need some help

How does the AFC playoff picture look entering the final week of the season, and how can Steelers enter the tournament?

Pittsburgh Steelers, Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers, Steelers / Jane Gershovich/GettyImages
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The Pittsburgh Steelers earned a much-needed road win against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 17 to keep their playoff hopes alive for one more week. Unfortuantely, the results around the AFC this past week didn't give Mike Tomlin's team the assistance they need. Now there's just one week left for the chips to fall their way.

Entering Week 18, Pittsburgh's path to the playoffs has become very clear. A win on the road against the Baltimore Ravens in the season finale is a must, but they still require some outside help.

Meanwhile, the number one seed has been decided after the Ravens destroyed the Miami Dolphins in Week 17. Meanwhile, the Cincinnati Bengals and Denver Broncos have both been eliminated and are no longer in the hunt. Here's an updated look at the AFC playoff picture entering Week 18, per NFL.com.

AFC playoff picture, Week 18

1. Baltimore Ravens (13-3)
2. Miami Dolphins (11-5)
3. Kansas City Chiefs (10-6)
4. Jacksonville Jaguars (9-7)
5. Cleveland Browns (11-5)
6. Buffalo Bills (10-6)
7. Indianapolis Colts (9-7)

In the hunt: Houston Texans (9-7) and Pittsburgh Steelers (9-7).

Prior to Week 18, the Dolphins had a chance at a first-round bye. Now they will look to hang onto the second seed in an effort to play the seventh seed in the Wild Card round of the playoffs. Entering the final week of the season, the Ravens, Dolphins, Chiefs, and Browns have each locked up playoff spots, but there are five other teams in the AFC that are still being sorted out.

According to NFL.com, the Bills (currently the 6th seed) have a 94 percent chance of securing a playoff spot. However, there is a route where this 10-6 team could be eliminated. If the Steelers and Jaguars both win (and assuming the Texans-Colts game does not end in a tie) Buffalo will need to beat Miami in the season finale to make the playoffs.

The Pittsburgh Steelers once again will enter the final week of the season requiring outside help to make it to the postseason. In addition to a Steelers win in Baltimore on Saturday, Pittsburgh also needs either the Jaguars or Bills to lose. The Jags are road favorites over the eliminated Titans this week, while the Bills need to lose to the Dolphins in Miami.

Both of these games will come after the results of the Steelers vs. Ravens game will already be decided. If Pittsburgh loses, they can kiss their playoff hopes goodbye. But if they win, every Steelers fan should be rooting for the Titans to beat the Jaguars (1:00 p.m. ET on Sunday) and the Dolphins to beat the Bills (8:20 p.m. ET on Sunday).

The only other route for the Steelers to enter the playoffs would be a win in Baltimore this week and for the Texans-Colts game to end in a tie (which is a very unlikely scenario). Right now, Pittsburgh has a 29 percent chance of making the playoffs, but there's definitely a defined avenue for the Steelers to enter the postseason. This is going to be a fun Week 18.

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