The Pittsburgh Steelers are in the thick of the AFC Playoff race, sitting at 7-4, entering Week 13. Despite lackluster offensive showings offensively for much of the year, the team has been able to overcome that and would be the fifth seed in the AFC if the season ended today.
While the team still has some work to do offensively and must keep handling their business by winning football games, the team controls its own destiny when it comes to their playoff chances. With a defense that makes tons of splash plays, if the offense can build off of last week's performance against the Bengals, they could be a team that opponents don't want to play come playoff time.
However, if they play like the offense has played much of this year, they could have a hard time keeping up with some of the top dogs in the AFC. There are several teams they could play in the postseason, here's how they match up with a few of them.
5. Wild Card Contenders
There are so many teams in the thick of the playoff race in the AFC, and some are much more likely than others to make the playoffs. With the Steelers most likely scenario of making the playoffs being as a wild card, the following teams are ones where it doesn't appear too likely that they will have a first-round matchup with the Steelers.
A few of these teams that the Steelers match up particularly well against include the Cleveland Browns, Indianapolis Colts, and Denver Broncos. While the Steelers have split with the Browns this season, they haven't played against the other two. A matchup with any of these three teams presents the Steelers with the type of game they like to play, a low-scoring defensive game, as these teams all possess run-first offenses, with above-average defenses.
Some teams in this range that the Steelers may struggle against include the Houston Texans and Buffalo Bills. Both teams possess uber-talented quarterbacks, who can lead the team to winning in a shootout, which is not the type of game that the Steelers want to play in.
Houston handed the Steelers a beating earlier this year, and possesses the offensive firepower to give the Steelers fits. Buffalo on the other hand also possesses a potent offense but has many more holes on their team right now, and with Allen turning the ball over at a high rate, there is a world where the Steelers' defense could make some plays to keep them in the game.
While some of these teams will make the playoffs, most likely they will make it as a wild card, and if they do that it will be hard for the Steelers to play against them in round one, as they will likely be a wild card themselves, or will sneak into the four seed if they can overtake Baltimore.