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Who Should Steelers Root for to Maximize Playoff Odds?



Steelers Kenny Pickett
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett (8) scrambles for a touchdown against the New York Jets during an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022, in Pittsburgh, PA. (AP Photo/Matt Durisko)

Last year around this time, the Steelers had terrible playoff odds, but somehow, the fanbase might feel more bleak about their chances this year. Yet, it’s easy to see a path for the Steelers to get into the dance if they can somehow squeak out a few of these games and put wins into the bank.

But if they want to maximize their playoff odds, what is the team’s rooting guide for this week?

For right now, Pittsburgh stands as the eight seed, but could easily hop back into the playoff picture with a loss from one of the team’s above the..

The divisional tiebreaker over the Browns kept the Steelers ahead of Cleveland before Thursday. They have a better conference record than the Colts, so the tiebreakers favored them.

The Steelers are at the bottom of that pile now, a half-game behind Cleveland, Indianapolis, and Houston. The Steelers will need to root for help over the weekend when the Colts visit the Cincinnati Bengals, the Browns host the Jacksonville Jaguars, and the Texans visit the New York Jets.

Steelers HC Mike Tomlin

Steelers HC Mike Tomlin against the Arizona Cardinals, Dec. 3, 2023 – Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

So, that is the first part of the rooting guide. The Bengals over the Colts is evident despite the Bengals knocking on the door if that happens. Cincinnati will still end up behind Pittsburgh due to a divisional record. Then, the Jaguars need to beat the Browns to give the Steelers the edge again by divisional record. The Jets must beat the Texans, who would remain ahead of Pittsburgh with a win.

Regarding the Steelers’ playoff hopes with those behind them. At the same time, the Broncos, Bengals, and Bills winning would put pressure on them. If you are rooting for that pressure to stay off, the Chargers over the Broncos and Chiefs seem like natural rooting ancillaries. If you want to go even further down the list to stave off all potential threats, the Raiders losing to the Vikings would help.

Lastly, to keep AFC North division hopes alive, the Rams defeating the Ravens would help boost those odds if they can slip up in Baltimore.

So, to recap, this is the rooting guide for the Steelers’ playoff odds in Week 14:

Bengals over Colts

Chargers over Broncos

Jets over Texans

Jaguars over Browns

Chiefs over Bills

Vikings over Raiders

Rams over Ravens