The Pittsburgh Steelers have officially been eliminated from the AFC North after the Baltimore Ravens defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday Night Football. Because the Ravens improved to 11-3 after Pittsburgh fell to 7-7, it is mathematically impossible for the Steelers to catch them with only three games left.
The Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals won, pushing their odds even more to make a push at the playoffs. The Browns are inching closer to the division, and with the Ravens facing some tough competition late in the season, including the 49ers and Dolphins, Cleveland is not out of it yet. But the Steelers are out of it and will look to get out of the cellar.
The Steelers entered the day as longshots to make the postseason, with the New York Times playoff simulator giving them a 9% chance entering the day and the betting markets settling around 14%.
They had available help in the form of the Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys, and Tennessee Titans, but those three teams went 0-3 on Sunday.
The Bears and Titans made things tight. Chicago gave up a go-ahead field goal to the Cleveland Browns in the final minute, but still had a chance to win it, when Darnell Mooney dropped Justin Fields’ Hail Mary attempt on the last play in the end zone.
The trio of setbacks dropped the Steelers’ playoff chances from 9% to 4%, according to the New York Times. If they are able to win out over their final three games, the Steelers will then have an 84% chance of making the playoffs.
The Sunday and Monday night games don’t significantly impact the Steelers’ playoff future. However, the Steelers are on the outside looking in and will likely miss the playoffs for a second straight season, with massive implications looming for the organization that finds itself in a tough spot.