The Pittsburgh Steelers have run into an old friend this winter yet again. They are no stranger to 7-5, as they’ve crossed paths almost annually it seems like and yet here they are again, chatting it up. Topics of discussion include catching up on what has happened since they last met and their outlook on the future. Despite 7-5 dressed similarly to the grim reaper, the Steelers believe they see some redeeming qualities in 7-5 but the reaper is here once again to offer a very different outlook.
7-5 reminds the Steelers that he has been nicer to the Pittsburgh organization than most teams, reminding them of their Cinderella Super Bowl victory finish in 2005. But still, 7-5 offers a reality check. The Steelers have been 7-5 three of the last four seasons, only managing one narrow playoff victory from the input but a closer look reveals that this is an outcome shared by many 7-5 teams.
Since 2008, there have been 39 total 7-5 teams at the week 14 mark of their respective season. Only 16 of the 39 made the playoffs, roughly 41 percent, not bad odds considering that there is not room for every 7-5 team to reach the postseason. The odds start getting more horrifying as you continue down the playoff bracket.
Out of those 16 teams that made the playoffs, only 7 managed to win their first game during Wild Card weekend. Those who were one and done had a margin of defeat of 14.4-points, showing a pretty lopsided affair. Out of those 7 that advanced to the Divisional Round, 6 lost, with the margin of defeat being 10.3-points.
The one opponent who made it to the Conference Championship Round also managed to advance to the Super Bowl and should be an opponent the Steelers remember well. That opponent being the 2008 Arizona Cardinals, who were defeated at the hands of the Steelers 27-23 in the Super Bowl.
7-5 concludes with what this all means, that no 7-5 team since the 2008 Cardinals have advanced past the Divisional Round. For the Steelers to have another storybook finish such as 2005, they will have to not only overcome the very talented teams in their path, but also the monumental odds ahead of them. 7-5 states that this is an objective with very minimal success but the Steelers remind 7-5 that they have done it once before.
Now can they do it once again?