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Insider Only Examining Steelers, AFC Playoff Seeding Scenarios

STEELERS GET BACK TO WORK
After having the weekend off, the Pittsburgh Steelers got back to work this afternoon going through normal film studies and meetings.The team will go through a normal week with practices on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
For the Steelers, the playoffs begin this week as the team heads into their regular season finale, controlling their destiny for the AFC North Title and most importantly, the No. 2 seed and a first round bye in the playoffs.
The game needs to be treated like one and should be. There are no excuses for Pittsburgh not to go into Cleveland and take care of business.
A first round bye is crucial to Pittsburgh’s chances of winning their second super bowl in three seasons.
A loss for Pittsburgh and a Baltimore win would give the Ravens the division title and could very well push the Steelers to the No. 6 seed as the New York Jets own the head-to-head tiebreaker.
A wildcard berth would mean a road game against the Kansas City Chiefs or the winner of the AFC South…. Indianapolis Colts or Jacksonville Jaguars.
Few would want to see Peyton Manning at home, even though the Colts are banged up and the fact that the Steelers have had success against Manning in the past.
Meanwhile, the Chiefs are 7-0 at home this season and despite their inexperience, they’re going to be a tough out at home in the wild card round.
QB Matt Cassel is quietly having a great season that no one is talking about. Cassel has thrown for 27 TD’s – 5 INT’s and 3,001 yards on the season. Cassel has a quarterback rating of 98.1 and is averaging 7.2 yards per attempt.
The Chiefs have a dynamic 1-2 punch at running back and game changers in the return game.
Here’s a breakdown of the AFC playoff field with scenarios for each team:
1. New England 13-2-0 .867 (4-1 DIV) (9-2-0 CONF)
Week 17 Opponent: Miami (7-8)
Notes: AFC EAST Champ: Has Secured No. 1 Seed
2. Pittsburgh 11-4-0 .733 (4-1 DIV) (8-3-0 CONF)
Week 17 Opponent: @ Cleveland (5-10)
Notes: Wins tiebreaker over Baltimore based on best win percentage in division games. Can clinch division and first round bye with a win vs Cleveland or a Baltimore loss. Can fall to the No. 6 seed with a loss, Baltimore Win and New York Jets win.
3. Kansas City 10-5-0 .667 (2-3 DIV) (6-5-0 CONF)
Week 17 Opponent: Vs Oakland Raiders (7-8)
Notes: AFC West Champ: Will host playoff game in Wildcard round. Chiefs are 7-0 at home this season. Can clinch the No. 3 seed with a win or Colts loss. Can fall to the No. 4 seed with a loss and Colts win.

4 Indianapolis 9-6-0 .600 (3-2 DIV) (7-4-0 CONF)
Week 17 Opponent: vs Tennessee (6-9)
Notes: The Colts control their own destiny to defend their AFC crown. Win at home in Week 17 vs. Tennessee, and the Colts clinch the AFC South. A Colts loss and a victory by Jacksonville (8-7) would give the division to the Jaguars. Colts own tiebreaker against Chiefs and could earn No. 3 seed with a win and a Chiefs loss.
5. Baltimore 11-4-0 .733 (3-2 DIV) (8-3-0 CONF)
Week 17 Opponent: vs Cincinnati (4-11)
Notes: Clinched Playoff Berth. They can clinch the AFC North and a first-round bye in Week 17 with a win and a Pittsburgh loss. Own tiebreaker over the New York Jets and will finish no worse than No. 5.
6. NY Jets 10-5-0 .667 (3-2 DIV) (8-3-0 CONF)
Week 17 Opponent: Buffalo (4-11)
Notes: Clinched Wildcard Berth: Jets can clinch the No. 5 seed with a win in Week 17, a Ravens win and a Steelers loss. The Jets own the head-to-head tiebreaker against the Steelers but not Baltimore.

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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