The Steelers are at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, informally known as the South Side facility, nearing the end of the regular season. It’s where they otherwise train all year round, and the facility that Burt Lauten insists everybody refers to by its full name.
There are still unsettled questions that need answering, even deep into the year. They entered the process with questions in the starting lineup, in the scheme, and elsewhere, but new problems always arise that need to be resolved.
Even questions about who’s starting and when may not have satisfactory answers in their finality, as midseason changes are certainly quite possible, for some positions more than others. We’re also feeling out how the new coordinator posts—or posts in new contexts—end up playing out.
There’s never any shortage of questions when it comes to football, and we’ll be discussing them here on a daily basis for the community to “talk amongst yourselves”, as Linda Richman might say on Coffee Talk.
Question: Are the Steelers really going to make the playoffs?
Time will tell, but with each passing week, the Steelers’ odds of making the postseason have dramatically improved. Putting together their first three-game winning streak of the year, they now have a manageable pathway to the seventh seed after clawing their way out of a 2-6 hole, finally back at .500 at 8-8 with one game left to play.
All they need in the final week of the season is to beat a Cleveland Browns team that has looked rather spotty with Deshaun Watson at quarterback (even if he is coming off of his best game since returning from suspension) while also seeing the Buffalo Bills beat the New England Patriots and having the New York Jets beat or tie with the Miami Dolphins.
The Bills are a pretty good team and they’re still playing to potentially secure the number one seed and the first-round bye that comes with it (they play their Week 17 game tonight against the Bengals), so it should be expected that they have plenty to play for.
The Dolphins have a precarious situation at quarterback. starting Tua Tagovailoa has already suffered three concussions this year and it’s unclear whether or not he could reasonably be cleared and put back on the field in time, having missed this week’s game. Backup Teddy Bridgewater suffered a finger injury yesterday that could affect his availability.
It’s easily within the realm of plausibility that the Patriots and Dolphins lose and that the Steelers beat the Browns. If those three things happen, Pittsburgh goes to the postseason. Will they lose in the first round to the Chiefs or Bills? The odds would be against them. But the odds have been against them all season, haven’t they?