While it’s only Week 5 of the 2015 NFL season, the Pittsburgh Steelers Monday night game against the San Diego Chargers is very close to being one that they must win.
For starters, a loss to the Chargers would mean that San Diego will own any head-to-head tiebreakers over the Steelers. Being as it currently looks like the Chargers will be one of several teams battling for a Wild Card spot in the AFC this year, having that head-to-head win advantage could wind up being huge later on in the season.
Additionally, a Chargers win Monday night would result in them having a 2-1 conference record while a Steelers loss would drop them to 0-3 in games against other AFC teams. Here’s something else to think about. Five of the Chargers next six games after Monday night’s game against the Steelers are against teams that currently have losing records and four of those teams are in the AFC.
Thanks to the Cincinnati Bengals winning in overtime Sunday over the Seattle Seahawks, the Steelers would be three games back to them in the AFC North division with a Monday night loss. That would be quite a mountain to climb at that point that would likely include them having to sweep the Bengals in their two meetings later on this season.
Below is a look at the current AFC seeding picture heading into Monday night and while the contest against the Chargers certainly can’t be considered a must-win game for the Steelers with so much of the season left to be played, it’s certainly a game that we might wind up circling after the season is over should they ultimately lose it. Much like the overtime loss last week to the Baltimore Ravens.