The Pittsburgh Steelers did not get much of the playoff help they were hoping for on Sunday, and as a result, their postseason hopes line in a single path.
The Steelers entered the day with about a 12% chance of making the postseason, according to calculations by 538. They finished the evening with just a 3% chance.
In order to make the AFC playoffs as a wild card, the Steelers will need to win their final two games, have the Jacksonville Jaguars defeat the Indianapolis Colts next Sunday, and avoid a tie between the Los Angeles Chargers and Las Vegas Raiders.
The Steelers needed the Chargers, Raiders, Cincinnati Bengals, Miami Dolphins and Baltimore Ravens to lose on Sunday to maximize their chances. Only the Dolphins and Ravens lost, though, with Cincinnati clinching the AFC North and the Chargers, Colts and Raiders moving to 9-7.
The Chargers and Raiders playing each other in Week 18, and the fact that the Steelers lost to both teams head-to-head, means that at least one of those teams will finish ahead of Pittsburgh.
Co-AFC East leaders New England and Buffalo are also at 10 wins, and one of those teams will also occupy a wild card spot the Steelers cannot reach.
That leaves the 9-7 Colts as the only team that the Steelers are currently trailing that can be caught. But that help won’t come easily. The Colts are visiting 2-14 Jacksonville, which is in last place in the entire NFL, a half-game behind the Detroit Lions.