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 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: Will the Steelers’ playoff chances still be alive by the time they kick off?
There’s no other question to ask today, really. Because the NFL decided to flex the Steelers’ game today against the Baltimore Ravens to Sunday Night Football, there exists the possibility that they get eliminated from postseason consideration based on the earlier games’ results before they even kick off.
Everyone in Steeler Nation will be scoreboard watching throughout the afternoon, either rooting for or against Pittsburgh getting what it needs depending on how much they want to see the Steelers make this postseason versus draft positioning.
Barring tie scenarios, they need the Miami Dolphins to lose to the New England Patriots, and they won’t have quarterback Tua Tagovailoa out there. Divisional games can always go either way, but this has to be considered winnable for New England.
They also need help from the Seattle Seahawks, who play the New York Jets. Because the Jets and Dolphins play each other in week 18, it complicates these considerations even further, but that’s a discussion for next week, if it’s even relevant by then. They would also need the Patriots to lose to the Buffalo Bills.
I’m sure there are some other scenarios that I failed to highlight here, but this is the bread and butter of what the Steelers are up against before they even take the field tonight. Basically, you should be rooting for the Patriots and Seahawks today if you want Pittsburgh to make the playoffs. The Patriots play at 1 PM, and the Seahawks play at 4 PM, so this will be a long day of football for anybody following along.