The Baltimore Ravens don’t always look the part with Lamar Jackson, but somehow they keep getting it done. After defeating the Los Angeles Chargers, the rookie is now 5-1 as a starter, his only loss coming in overtime against the Kansas City Chiefs. They are now 9-6 on the season and control their playoff fate.
The Pittsburgh Steelers could give them the keys to the division if they lose to the New Orleans Saints today. The Ravens would only have to win against the Cleveland Browns in the finale, or see the Steelers lose to the Cincinnati Bengals, to win.
Since they can’t count on the Ravens to help them, if the Steelers should lose to the Saints today, they may need a giant favor from the New York Giants, who play the Indianapolis Colts at 1 PM today, so we will know beforehand how important a win is.
If the Steelers don’t win the division—which would almost assuredly mean losing today—then they absolutely need the Colts to lose in order to get into the postseason as a Wildcard team.
You see, the Tennessee Titans won their game yesterday to get to 9-6 on the season. If the Colts also win and reach a 9-6 record, then it will guarantee one of the two will—barring a tie—finish the season with a 10-6 record, which the Steelers could not beat if they lose another game.
To boil it down to as simple terms as possible, if the Steelers lose to the Saints, they will need one of the two following results in order to get into the playoffs, in addition to also winning against the Bengals next week: either the Colts lose to the Giants, and then beat the Titans in Week 17, or the Browns beat the Ravens in Week 17.
I wouldn’t bet on either of those things happening, which makes this game against the Saints pretty close to an absolute must-win. The Steelers control their fate—and the bye week is even still in play as I write this—but right now they could end up anywhere from the number two seed to the number eight seed.
You probably didn’t even make it through to this point of the article before you rushed to the comments section to point out that the Steelers only have themselves to blame for making a Week 16 road game against Drew Brees a must-win.
That would be correct, of course. It was only four weeks ago that this was a 7-2-1 team in position to have a bye week and perhaps even compete for the number one seed, but they proceeded to lose three games that they should have won.
Woulda, coulda, shoulda, as they say, but now it’s down to gotta.