Ryan Flippin’ Mallett.
After it appeared the Steelers were destined for the playoffs, they were immediately humbled last week by the rival Ravens. Mallett, after only 11 days with the team, threw for a career-high 274 yards in the victory. The Ravens had been blown out 69-20 in their previous two games.
If that wasn’t awful enough, the Patriots mangled the overtime coin toss against the Jets, and allowed a game-winning touchdown that hurt the Steelers more than the Patriots. Now the Jets are a full game ahead o the Steelers, and can clinch the final playoff spot with a win in Buffalo today.
And now you’re a Rex Ryan fan.
Here’s how the Steelers look heading into the final week:
The Division Leaders:
1. New England Patriots — 12-3 — Clinched AFC East
2. Denver Broncos — 11-4
3. Cincinnati Bengals — 11-4
4. Houston Texans — 8-7
The Wild Card Contenders:
5. Kansas City Chiefs — 10-5
6. New York Jets — 10-5
7. Pittsburgh Steelers — 9-6
*Kansas City is ahead of the New York and Pittsburgh based on conference record (Chiefs: 8-2 Jets:6-4 Steelers: 6-4)
*Pittsburgh is ahead of the New York based on common games record (3-1 to New York’s 3-2)
For a full list of NFL tiebreaking procedures, click here.
Current position: 7th in AFC, trail NYJ by one game
Remaining schedule: at Browns (3-12)
Jets remaining schedule: at Bills (7-8)
The only result that matters:
Jets lose, Steelers win. The Steelers deserve the situation they’re in, but can still sneak into the postseason with some Rex Ryan magic today. Should the Steelers qualify, they could be paired with either the Bengals or Broncos in the opening round.