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In the Hunt: Steelers Playoff Chances Still Alive, But Need Help



Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Arthur Maulet (35) celebrates after a play during an NFL football game against the Las Vegas Raiders, Sunday, Dec. 24, 2022, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Tyler Kaufman)

After starting the season 2-6, the Pittsburgh Steelers have won five of their last seven games and miraculously remain in the playoff hunt at 7-8. Kenny Pickett kept the Steelers’ playoff hopes alive by leading the offense on a 10-play, 76-yard game-winning drive to defeat the Las Vegas Raiders, 13-10, at Acrisure Stadium. The Steelers would have been eliminated had they lost.

The Steelers are currently the 11th seed in the AFC and have just a 2% chance to make the playoffs, according to Five Thirty Eight. They’re behind the Tennessee Titans, New York Jets, New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins in the playoff picture. The Steelers lost to the Jets, Patriots and Dolphins this year, which throws a wrench in their playoff chances when it comes to tiebreakers.

To remain in the hunt, the Steelers need either the Miami Dolphins to lose to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday or the Los Angeles Chargers to fall to the Indianapolis Colts on Monday night to stay alive.

The big three in the AFC are the Buffalo Bills, Kansas City Chiefs and Cincinnati Bengals (in that order). The Jacksonville Jaguars (7-8) surprisingly hold the fourth seed. Their Week 18 matchup against the Tennessee Titans will decide the winner of the AFC South. The Baltimore Ravens (10-5), currently the fifth seed, clinched a playoff spot with a 17-9 win over the Atlanta Falcons on Saturday. The Los Angeles Chargers (8-6) and Miami Dolphins (8-6) hold the final two seeds in the AFC.

Over in the NFC, the Philadelphia Eagles are the No. 1 overall seed with a league-best 13-2 record. The Minnesota Vikings are the No. 2 seed at 12-3, followed by the San Fransisco 49ers at 11-4. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the No. 4 seed but the Carolina Panthers are on their heels, as they hold the same record (6-8). The Dallas Cowboys (11-4) are slotted in the top wild-card spot, while the New York Giants (8-6-1) and Washington Commanders (7-7-1) round out the NFC playoff picture. The Seattle Seahawks (7-8), Detroit Lions (7-8), Green Bay Packers (6-8), Carolina Panthers (6-9), and New Orleans Saints (6-9) are in the hunt.


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