There is an overwhelmingly good chance that Sunday night’s game hosting the Buffalo Bills will be the final game that the Pittsburgh Steelers play at Heinz Field during the 2019 season. It is their finale home game of the regular season, and it would take quite a bit of doing for them to host a game in the playoffs, if they even make it.
One way to do it would be for the Baltimore Ravens to lose the rest of their games and for the Steelers to win the rest, which is the only way that they could still win the AFC North, in doing so guaranteeing a home playoff game.
The alternative would be to see higher than the Bills by beating them on Sunday and placing higher than any other Wildcard contender to land the fifth seed. They would then have to win their first two playoff games and see the sixth seed do the same, which would allow the top Wildcard seed to host the bottom Wildcard seed in the AFC Championship game.
In other words, if you’re in the area and you want to see the Steelers play in person before August, then you’d better get yourself out to the stadium. Not just for yourself, but also because Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin would be grateful.
“We just appreciate our fans and our fans’ support. I think it’s Fan Appreciation Day, and we want to show that formally with the Fan Appreciation Day”, he said during his pre-game press conference yesterday. “But more than anything, they inspire us. We’re looking forward to entertaining them, and we’re looking forward to getting assistance from them in terms of creating a climate that’s difficult for Buffalo as well”.
Despite the utter lack of star power on offense—no Ben Roethlisberger, no Antonio Brown, no Le’Veon Bell, and lately, not even JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Conner—the fanbase has been unusually fired up, given the circumstances. The winning obviously helps with that a lot, having won seven of their last eight, but there’s no doubt the crowd has had an impact on games.
Both at home and on the road. They were particularly present in the games on the road against the Los Angeles Chargers and the Arizona Cardinals, the latter coming on Sunday. What kinds of crowds will they manage in New York and Baltimore in the final two games, however?
Nevermind that for now, because we, too, are going to take this one week at a time. And this week is about closing out Heinz Field for 2019 in style. A win over the Bills would put the Steelers in position for the number five seed, and what a way to celebrate that would be.