The regular season marks the culmination of an extensive investigation into who your team will be that year. By this point, you’ve gone through free agency, the draft, training camp, and the preseason. You feel good in your decisions insofar as you can create clarity without having played meaningful games. But there are still plenty of uncertainties that remain, whether at the start of the regular season or the end, and new ones continually develop over time.
That is what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).
The range of topics will be intentionally wide, from the general to the specific, from the immediate to that in the far future. And as we all tend to have an opinion on just about everything, I invite you to share your own each morning on the topic statement of the day.
Topic Statement: The AFC is mediocre enough this year that the Steelers can very much still sneak into the postseason.
Explanation: Even after Pittsburgh’s obnoxious loss to the Minnesota Vikings on the road on a short week, they are still in play for a postseason spot—even for the division title, two games behind the Baltimore Ravens, whom they’ve already beaten once, and whom they play again.
I don’t know when the last time was that so many teams in one conference were all so seemingly flawed. There are three four-loss teams at the top of the standings, and seven six-loss teams, not even including the Steelers, who have six losses and a tie. That’s 10 teams that are within two games of one another. Thirteen teams who are within three games. And then there are the Jets, the Texans, and the Jaguars, who all get laughed at.
Here’s the thing. The Steelers don’t have an easy schedule, but neither does anybody else. The Ravens in particular still have to play the Packers and the Rams, and they don’t look like they’re going to beat either one. They also have to play the Steelers and Bengals again. They could easily lose two or more of those games. The only game I can’t see the Steelers having a good chance of winning is against the Chiefs. The rest are very winnable, including Sunday against the Titans. If they win three, they may very well get in.
Look, let’s start by waiting to see if the Steelers can even win another game this year. It’s not like they didn’t fall off a cliff at the end of last season. This is another team that is limping to the finish line, as long as they have to play the first three quarters before the fourth quarter.
Like in 2018, the tie is going to really bite Pittsburgh in the ass. They’re going to finish half a game out of a postseason spot, despite having a head-to-head tiebreaker over the Chargers and Broncos that they won’t be able to make use of.