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Buy Or Sell: Steelers Will Reach Playoffs If They Win Out

Tomlin

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 Steelers will reach the playoffs if they win their final two games.

Explanation: There is still an awful lot left to be decided in the AFC North with two games left to play. The Pittsburgh Steelers, sitting at 7-7-1, could either win the division, make the playoffs as a wildcard, or miss the postseason entirely. Winning the division would require their winning out with the Cincinnati Bengals losing out, but not even winning out would guarantee a Wild Card berth.

Buy:

While they have a steep hill to climb, the good news is that the other teams in contention have two games they have to play, too, and there will be some cannibalization of multiple teams playing one another.

The Patriots play the Dolphins, for example, and the Chargers play the Raiders. Both of the latter two are 8-7, so at best, only one could potentially finish at 10-7, if either one does. Many of the other teams in contention have a final remaining schedule as tough or tougher than Pittsburgh’s.

And let’s not crown the Bengals too early. It’s likely that the Los Angeles Rams will handle them this week. Then it comes down to the Cleveland Browns in the finale. If they can get their act together, get healthy, and run the ball, Cincinnati could lose out the final two weeks, which would put the Steelers at the top of the AFC North without having to worry about the Wild Card shenanigans.

Sell:

The Steelers are in 11th place right now, behind the Colts, Patriots, now Dolphins, Ravens, Chargers, and Raiders. They can take care of the Ravens themselves, but that’s a lot of things going right. They’ll get some help if the Patriots beat Miami in Week 18, but the only way a Patriots loss would help them is if they also lose to the Jaguars.

There’s really only one wildcard seed open with two teams already at nine wins and virtually guaranteed a 10th due to playing the Jaguars. It’s possible that they get the help they need, but it’s still a long shot.

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