Steelers News

Already Out Of AFC North Race, Steelers Could Be Eliminated From Postseason Altogether In Week 14

A week ago, I laid out a plausible even if unlikely scenario by which the Pittsburgh Steelers could reach the postseason after getting to a 5-8 record. It was always a long shot and almost necessitated them winning out. Things haven’t gone so well in the week since.

In fact, they could be eliminated from postseason contention altogether with a loss to the Carolina Panthers. According to Bryan Knowles of Football Outsiders, either a New England Patriots win over the Las Vegas Raiders or wins by the New York Jets over the Detroit Lions and by the Miami Dolphins over Buffalo Bills would be sufficient to cause a Steelers loss to knock them out of the running entirely.

Even if they don’t get all the ‘help’ they would need to be completely eliminated, there are a number of scenarios in which it would guarantee them no better than a sixth or seventh seed.

Because the Baltimore Ravens and the Cincinnati Bengals still play each other again this year, Pittsburgh is already out of contention for the AFC North, as it would be impossible for both the Ravens and Bengals to finish 9-8 or worse, which is as good as the Steelers could get.

So, things aren’t looking so great right now. There’s still the slimmest of chances that the Steelers could reach the playoffs, but, again, it would virtually demand that they win out the final four weeks, a slate that includes another game against the Ravens, this time in Baltimore.

According to Joe Ferreira, the Steelers could also be eliminated from playoff contention this week with a loss through a combination of a Jets win and a win or tie by the Los Angeles Chargers, or a Chargers win combined with a tie by the Raiders, who play the Patriots.

It is very plausible that Pittsburgh could have no playoff future in 2022 when they take the field in each of their final three games of the regular season. The last and only time they have ever played a game in the regular season with nothing at stake under head coach Mike Tomlin was in the season finale in 2013.

Of course, they were 7-8 going into that game. They’re 5-8 now and would need to win all of their final four games, or win three and tie one, to avoid a losing record, so it’s no surprise that they’re in the position they’re in now.

Not even in 2019 when they lost Ben Roethlisberger for the season in week two were they in his bad of a position. they were actually sitting at 8-5 with three games to go in the season, somehow, before ending the year losing their final three.

The 2022 Steelers may well end up starting as many quarterbacks—three—as they did that year, if Kenny Pickett can’t play on Sunday and Tomlin decides to go with Mason Rudolph. Generally, you’re not in a good spot if you’re starting multiple people in that spot over the year.

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