Steelers News

Stayin’ Alive: Steelers’ Playoff Scenarios For Week 16

If there’s one topic Pittsburgh Steelers fans definitely don’t want to be broached this year, it is the possibility of their favorite team making it into the postseason. At least that seems to be the consensus amongst the vocal minority.

Not because they insist the odds of them making the postseason are so long. No, because they want the Steelers to get as high a draft pick as they can manage because they don’t believe they can contend for the Super Bowl this year.

Unfortunately for those fans, it’s still a possibility this year and we’re going to talk about it. Going into the bye week at 2-6, they’ve since gone 4-2 and are poached upon the very outskirts of being ‘in the hunt’.

And their playoff scenarios with three games remaining were leaked yesterday by somebody on Reddit by the name of u/theipodbackup. This image is the exact format that the NFL releases for playoff scenarios, and it’s been independently vouched for as credible. So let’s look at the possibilities.

All of them, unsurprisingly, involve the Steelers winning out. The easiest path is to have at least one other team lose out. If it’s the Los Angeles Chargers or the Miami Dolphins, they’ll still need the New York Jets and New England Patriots to lose two out of three (though which two varies), and for the Jacksonville Jaguars or the Tennessee Titans to lose (one for the former, two for the latter).

In the event that both the Chargers and Dolphins lose out, the Patriots become the focus. If they beat either the Bengals or Seahawks, then the Jets will have to lose two specific games and the same scenario for the Jaguars and Titans applies as the scenario of Miami losing out.

If New England loses to both the Bengals and Bills (certainly plausible), then they would need only a Jets loss to the Seahawks or for the Jaguars to lose to the Titans plus one other team—assuming that the Chargers and Dolphins also lose out.

I’m not going to debate the merits of rooting against your team winning games here, but I am going to say that we absolutely are going to discuss the prospects of the Steelers reaching the postseason as long as there is still a chance of them doing so. If for no other reason than for the fact that it’s part of their story right now and it’s our job to tell it.

After all, they’re trying to make it to the playoffs. Writing about them trying to make it to the playoffs and about what has to happen for them to make it is still what our job entails even if you don’t want to even entertain the idea.

Are they going to make the playoffs? Almost undoubtedly not. But not because so many of the individual scenarios are very unlikely. Only because so many different scenarios have to play out in order for it to happen.

The Steelers can beat the Ravens, the Raiders, and the Browns. The Dolphins still have two divisional games and Aaron Rodgers’s Packers to play. The Patriots play the Bills and Bengals. The Jets could lose to the Jaguars and Seahawks. And as long as Jacksonville beats the Jets, they can plausibly lose to the Titans.

All of those things individually are plausible. But all of them have to happen for Pittsburgh to get in, in one scenario. It’s almost surely not going to happen. But we’ve seen some crazy things over the years.

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