AFC Playoff Picture: A Steelers Fan’s Rooting Guide To NFL Week 16

The (9-5) Pittsburgh Steelers will play the (4-10) Baltimore Ravens Sunday afternoon at M&T Bank Stadium with the possibility of ending the day with a playoff berth. Even though the Steelers still control their own playoff destiny right now with two games remaining, it doesn’t mean that we won’t be doing more scoreboard watching during this 16th of the 2015 NFL season. As usual, here is your fan rooting interest guide for Week 16 as it relates to the AFC playoff race, scenarios and seeding.

New England Patriots (12-2) at New York Jets (9-5) 1:00 PM ET

While the Steelers do control their own destiny with two weeks remaining in the regular-season, they will need the Jets to lose Sunday to the Patriots if they want to secure a playoff berth in Week 16. The Jets, however, have won their last four games and they’ll host a Patriots team on Sunday that will be without the services of Danny Amendola, Patrick Chung, Julian Edelman and Devin McCourty. The Patriots are still trying to clinch the No. 1 seed in the AFC so this game still has some meaning to them. The Patriots enter Sunday as 3-point favorites.

Cincinnati Bengals (11-3) at Denver Broncos (10-4) 8:30 PM ET

When it comes to Steelers fans and their rooting interest in this game, it all depends on whether or not you fully believe the Bengals could lose next week to the Ravens. If you think that’s likely to happen, then you should pull for the Broncos as the Steelers can win the AFC North with two losses by the Bengals combined with them winning out. If, however, you think the Bengals will beat or tie the Ravens next Sunday, rooting for them to beat the Broncos Monday night isn’t a bad thing as the Steelers could still finish ahead of Denver in the Wild Card race as long as they win out.

Cleveland Browns (3-11) at Kansas City Chiefs (9-5) 1:00 PM ET

In order for the Steelers to overtake the Chiefs in the AFC seeding they will need Kansas City to lose or tie at least once during the final two weeks and it’s really that simple. However, the Chiefs can still win the AFC West if Denver loses one of their final two games and Kansas City wins out. The best-case scenario for the Steelers, outside of them winning the AFC North and getting the No.2 seed, would be for the Chiefs and Broncos to both lose at least once more during the final two weeks while they win out. That would likely result in a first round playoff game against the winner of the AFC South.

Houston Texans (7-7) at Tennessee Titans (3-11) 1:00 PM ET

The Texans can clinch the AFC South Sunday if a few things fall their way. I think several Steelers fans wouldn’t mind facing the Texans in the first round of the playoffs so you might as well go ahead and root for them against the Titans.

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