Back in the Hunt: Steelers Remain in AFC Playoff Picture
With just three weeks remaining in the NFL regular season, the AFC playoff picture is really starting to take shape. The Pittsburgh Steelers are still in the hunt at 6-8, but they’re currently slotted as the 13th seed and buried behind the Cleveland Browns (6-8), Las Vegas Raiders (6-8), Jacksonville Jaguars (6-8), New York Jets (7-7), New England Patriots (7-7) and Miami Dolphins (8-6).
Even if they win their last three games, the Steelers are going to need a lot of help to sneak into the postseason. According to the data analysts at Five Thirty Eight, the Steelers only have an 8% chance of making the playoffs if they win out.
The Steelers had a 0.1% chance of making the postseason entering Week 15. Pittsburgh’s playoff chances moved up slightly to 0.3% after defeating the Panthers on Sunday. The Jaguars upset over the Cowboys and the Chargers defeating the Titans hampered the Steelers’ playoff odds. However, they did get some help with the Lions taking down the Jets and the Raiders pulling off a jaw-dropping win over the Patriots in Vegas. The Buffalo Bills defeating the Dolphins on Saturday night also provided help to the Steelers.
The Bills currently hold the No. 1 overall seed in the AFC with a record of 11-3, just ahead of the Kansas City Chiefs, who are also 11-3. The AFC North-leading Cincinnati Bengals are the third seed at 10-4, while the Tennessee Titans are the fourth seed at 7-7. The Baltimore Ravens (9-5) hold the top wildcard spot, followed by the Los Angeles Chargers (8-6) and Dolphins to round out the current AFC playoff picture.
The Steelers host the Raiders on Christmas Eve and have a Week 18 meeting with the Cleveland Browns at Acrisure Stadium, so they could chip away with wins there. However, the big thing that’s holding the Steelers back is tiebreakers, as they lost to the Patriots, Jets and Dolphins this year.
Over in the NFC, the Philadelphia Eagles are the No. 1 overall seed, posting a league-best record of 13-1. The Minnesota Vikings (11-3) are the No. 2 seed, while the San Francisco 49ers (10-4) are the No. 3 seed. The NFC South is so bad that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers lead the division at 6-8 and hold the fourth seed. The Dallas Cowboys (10-4) hold the top wildcard spot, followed by fellow NFC East teams the New York Giants (8-5-1) and Washington Commanders (7-6-1) at the sixth and seventh seeds, respectively. The Seattle Seahawks (7-7), Detroit Lions (7-7) and Green Bay Packers (5-8) are in the hunt. The New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers are all still in contention given the state of the NFC South.