Ominous Schedule Looms Ahead For Steelers

Did the Denver loss just cost them a first-round bye in the AFC playoffs?

Matt Koll
November 26, 2018 - 11:22 am
Ben Roethlisberger sacked by Broncos

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan)- The Steelers couldn't overcome their four turnovers in Denver on Sunday and saw their six-game winning steak come to an end in a 24-17 loss to the Broncos.

The loss hurts, as the Steelers drop from being the #2 team in the AFC standings to #4, pending the result of Monday night's Texans-Titans game. 

But the loss hurts even more when you look at the remaining five games on the Steelers schedule, as The Fan Morning Show did on Monday morning. 

Three of the five games are against projected playoff teams, with one of those being on the road against the highest-scoring offense in the league. One is against a team the Steelers haven't defeated since 2011 (a game in which Antonio Brown scored his first receiving touchdown). Another against a division rival.

Here's the schedule the rest of the way....

vs. Chargers (8-3), at Raiders (2-9), vs. Patriots (8-3), at Saints (10-1), vs. Bengals (5-6)

All of this being said, what seed will the Steelers end up with in the AFC playoffs? Are the playoffs even a lock? 

To the second part of that question, it would take a collapse by Pittsburgh coupled by a sudden hot streak for the Ravens or Bengals to pull that off. 

Baltimore is now 6-5 and has a remaining schedule Falcons (4-7), at Chiefs (9-2), vs. Buccaneers (4-7), at Chargers (8-3), vs. Browns (4-6-1). If the Steelers lost two more games and the Ravens won the rest of their games, they would jump in front and win the division. Even then the Steelers may be able to sneak into the 6th Wild Card spot at 10-5-1, unless the Colts or Titans continue to rip off wins and run the table to finish the season 11-5. The Ravens could also lose just one game of course, but would need the Steelers to lose 3 of 5 down the stretch to win the division at 10-6 over the 9-6-1 Steelers. 

Cincinnati at 5-6 would need to win out and have the Steelers lose three out of their last five games. Even then, Baltimore would need to cooperate and lose some games, too. 

So no, technically the playoffs aren't a LOCK but it's close. But could the Steelers really go 2-3 the rest of the way? Colin Dunlap and Chris Mack would not be surprised, as there are still three juggernauts on the schedule in the Chargers, Saints, Patriots. 

Both believe the Steelers are likely to go 3-2 and find themselves as division winners at 10-5-1, which would likely mean the #4 seed in the playoffs. If things stay as they are now and Houston finishes with a better record, that would mean a first round matchup against the #5 seed Chargers at home. 

Of course the #1 and #2 seeds are still up for grabs, but it's an uphill climb with this Denver loss to get there. 

And there's that Oakland trap game there as well...

If the Steelers land the #4 seed, do you have confidence they could still make it to the Super Bowl? Did this Denver loss just cost them a first-round bye? 


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