The Pittsburgh Steelers control their own playoff destiny, but that doesn’t mean it’ll be a walk in the park. For Ben Roethlisberger and company, they have a ton of pressure coming for not only their spot atop the AFC North but their playoff chances as a whole. With a tough Week 16 matchup on tap and work to do in order to lock in a postseason spot, let’s take a deep dive into their situation.
Things can look very good for the Steelers after Week 16, but also can turn bad very quickly. This is largely thanks to the impressive play of the Baltimore Ravens as of late, who pulled off a huge road win over the Los Angeles Chargers on Saturday. In turn, Pittsburgh needs to continue winning games.
Let’s first look at the AFC standings and playoff outlook, then jump into the scenarios for Mike Tomlin’s team.
*Note: Updated playoff chances/odds listed below.
AFC Playoff Standings
*Note: Updated after Saturday’s results in Week 16
|1. Kansas City Chiefs||11||3||0|
|2. New England Patriots||10||5||0|
|3. Houston Texans||10||5||0|
|4. Baltimore Ravens||9||6||0|
|5. L.A. Chargers||11||4||0|
|6. Indianapolis Colts||9||6||0|
|7. Tennessee Titans||9||6||0|
|8. Pittsburgh Steelers||8||6||1|
The pressure is officially on the Steelers Sunday, especially considering the fact that they draw the 12-win New Orleans Saints on the road. With the Ravens, who have won five of their last six, hot on their heels, a loss would result in Pittsburgh falling out of the playoff picture for the time being.
It’s an ideal spot to control your own destiny when it comes to postseason chances. Unfortunately, the Steelers really can’t afford a slip-up due to the strong play of the Ravens, Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans as of late.
Steelers’ Best and Worst Case Week 16 Scenarios
This is a tough spot for the Steelers, as winning in the Superdome is no easy task. According to Playoff Status, the team holds a higher chance to miss the playoffs altogether (prior to 4 p.m. EST kickoffs Sunday) than making it. Their chances of being on the outside looking in sit at 63 percent. On the opposite side, they’ve been given a 28 percent chance at the No. 4 seed, five percent at No. 5 and three percent at No. 6.
The best case scenario, of course, is the Steelers knocking off the Saints in this game. If that happens, their playoff odds jump drastically. They would go from a 63 percent chance of missing the playoffs down to just 18 percent. Along with that, Pittsburgh would have a 57 percent chance to win the division and get the No. 4 seed, as well as a 22 percent chance to jump up to No. 3.
Update: The Steelers now face a 77 percent chance of missing the playoffs and just a 23 percent chance of earning the No. 4 seed, per Playoff Status.