The Pittsburgh Steelers are out of Latrobe and back at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, also referred to as the South Side Facility. We are already into the regular season, where everything is magnified and, you know, actually counts. The team is working through the highs and lows and dramas that go through a typical Steelers season.
How are the rookies performing? What about the players that the team signed in free agency? Who is missing time with injuries, and when are they going to be back? What are the coaches saying about what they are going to do this season that might be different from how it was a year ago?
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: Will the Steelers finish off the regular season earning themselves another postseason bye week?
The last time the Steelers had the Sunday/Monday slate of games off, things went quite well for them. They moved up from third place in their division all the way to first with the Cincinnati Bengals and the Baltimore Ravens both losing.
Now this wasn’t technically a bye week, but Pittsburgh got its Week 10 game out of the way early on Thursday with a win under their belts. And they not only created further distances for themselves in the AFC North with the Bengals losing and the Ravens idle, they even moved up in the playoff standings, now the second seed with the New England Patriots losing to the Tennessee Titans.
The Steelers head into their next game against a reeling Jacksonville Jaguars team that has lost six of its past seven games. But they still have several tough games ahead, including the New Orleans Saints, the Los Angeles Chargers, and of course the Patriots.
New England, in the meantime, only faces three more teams in their final six games with a winning record, the Steelers being one of them, and the others being the Miami Dolphins and the Minnesota Vikings. For former is on the road, the latter at home.
The Steelers can actually afford to still lose another game now as long as they end up beating the Patriots and still earn the postseason bye. The Kansas City Chiefs would have to lose two more games than the Steelers do from this point forward in order to bump them off, however.
This is a long-distance question, but here is it: from now to the end of the season, do the Steelers do what they need to do in order to earn a berth into the Divisional Round as they did last season? They are in the driver’s seat at the moment.