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Insider Only Steelers – Ravens Fallout: James Harrison showing signs of returning to form is critical to Steelers becoming serious contender in AFC

The Steelers playoff situation remains the same as it was going into Sunday’s game vs Baltimore. The Colts (8-4) magical season continues with a thrilling last second win against Detroit and the Bengals (7-5) keep pace with the Steelers, earning a tough win in San Diego.
The Colts still face Houston twice and have a road game in Kansas City, which remains a tough place to play in. Indianapolis though remains in good position from a potential tiebreaker scenario as they have just three conference losses, compared to the Steelers and Bengals who each have five conference losses. For Pittsburgh, if they are to lose another game the rest of the way, you want it to happen in a non-conference game vs the Dallas Cowboys.
Colts remaining schedule
Week 14: vs Tennessee (3-9)
Week 15: @ Houston (11-1)
Week 16: @ Kansas City (2-10)
Week 17: vs Houston (11-1)
Bengals remaining schedule
Week 14: vs Dallas (6-6)
Week 15: @ Philadelphia (3-9)
Week 16: @ Pittsburgh (7-5)
Week 17: vs Baltimore (9-3)
Steelers Remaining Schedule
Week 14: vs San Diego (4-8)
Week 15: @ Dallas (6-6)
Week 16: vs Cincinnati (7-5)
Week 17: vs Cleveland (4-8)
For those holding out hope of the Steelers running the table the rest of the way and Baltimore losing three of four games which pretty much needs to happen for Pittsburgh to win the division based on advantages right now Baltimore has in tiebreakers (Division record, conference, common games), here’s the remaining schedule for the Ravens which is a tough one.
Week 14: @ Washington (5-6)
Week 15: vs Denver (9-3)
Week 16: vs New York Giants (7-4)
Week 17: @ Cincinnati (7-5)
Mike Tomlin and Todd Haley on Sunday rebounded from two straight weeks of awful play calling against Kansas City and Cleveland. What they did yesterday was put Charlie Batch in position to succeed, focusing on intermediate passes down the middle and they called excellent low risk passing plays on the game winning drive that took up 6:14 of time and Batch went 5 of 5 for 45 yards on the drive.
The biggest development for the Steelers moving forward continues to be the emergence of James Harrison the past three weeks. A disruptive pass rush from the outside is what makes this defense go and Harrison causing havoc like he is of late is pivotal to the Steelers become a serious contender down the stretch. Harrison in his last three games has 25 tackles, 3 sacks, and 1 forced fumble. Jason Worilds is also playing like a starting outside linebacker and if Harrison’s play doesn’t tail off, Pittsburgh could get by without an effective LaMarr Woodley.
  Playing in just his third game of the year, Troy Polamalu didn’t make much of an impact and struggled with his assignments at times but no one should be expecting to see the Troy Polamalu we are use to seeing in the past. He is no longer that player but he’s still one of the better safeties in the game.
The Steelers have to be absolutely thrilled at the performance they got from rookie Kelvin Beachum a 7th rounder in 2012. Beachum was a sleeper in camp and Pittsburgh kept him around because of the potential they see in him. He was a star yesterday and Maurkice Pouncey said it best, saying Beachum “did an awesome job”.
I didn’t expect Todd Haley to use any 4 WR sets, which he didn’t, but was surprised to not see Plaxico Burress a part of the game plan in redzone formations. Burress played just one snap, coming in during the fourth quarter for one play when Mike Wallace dinged up his knee.

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at

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