Updated AFC Playoff Picture after Steelers disappointing loss in Week 13

Where do the Steelers stand in the AFC playoff picture?

Steelers, Diontae Johnson, Mitch Trubisky
Steelers, Diontae Johnson, Mitch Trubisky / Joe Sargent/GettyImages

The Pittsburgh Steelers fell short in a disappointing game against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 13, losing by a final score of 7-5. To make matters worse, starting quarterback Kenny Pickett exited the game with an ankle injury that will cause him to miss time.

Pickett will be unavailable for the team's Week 14 matchup with the New England Patriots this Thursday, and while head coach Mike Tomlin insists the injury isn't season-ending, he very well might miss multiple games.

That means it'll be Mitch Trubisky at quarterback for Pittsburgh moving forward until Pickett is able to return. The offense was already ugly enough with Pickett under center — it's hard to be optimistic about their chances with Trubisky.

That said, the Steelers still find themselves in the thick of a competitive AFC playoff picture. At 7-5, the Steelers very much still control their own destiny as far as the playoffs are concerned in 2023.

Below is an updated look at the AFC playoff picture entering Week 14:

AFC Playoff Picture Week 14

1. Miami Dolphins (9-3)
2. Baltimore Ravens (9-3)
3. Kansas City Chiefs (8-4)
4. Jacksonville Jaguars (8-4)
5. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5)
6. Indianapolis Colts (7-5)
7. Cleveland Browns (7-5)

8. Houston Texans (7-5)
9. Denver Broncos (6-6)
10. Buffalo Bills (6-6)
11. Cincinnati Bengals (6-6)

The Steelers still have five games remaining on their schedule, and apart from this Thursday's matchup against the Patriots, all of their remaining opponents pose some sort of a threat.

The team's Week 15 matchup against the Indianapolis Colts is likely the most important game as far as playoff seeding is concerned. Both the Steelers and Colts sit at 7-5, tied for one of the AFC's wild-card spots.

The winner of this all-important conference clash will not only pick up another much-needed win over a quality foe, but they'll secure the tiebreaker over their opponent. That could prove to be massive come the end of the season.

Division matchups against the Cincinnati Bengals and, of course, the Baltimore Ravens in Weeks 16 and 18, respectively, should also prove to be important. After all, conference record is the second tiebreaker for playoff seeding behind head-to-head record.

The Steelers are very much alive in a crowded AFC playoff picture, entering what feels like a must-win game against the Patriots this Thursday. A win over New England would go a long way toward securing the franchise's third postseason appearance in the last four years.