Steelers face uphill battle to defend their Super Bowl Title
A 20-17 overtime loss to the Baltimore Ravens has the defending Super Bowl Champions fighting for their playoff lives with five games remaining.
Pittsburgh should be a team preparing for another division title but that’s not the case.
With their backs up against the wall, Pittsburgh will have to turn things around quickly in the month of December. Do the Super Bowl Champs have another 2005 run left in them?
“We will not go gently,” head coach Mike Tomlin said. “We will unleash hell in December”
The issue Mike Tomlin has moving forward is that his locker room is imploding. Pittsburgh has to realize the reality of the situation, that they could be one more loss away from not qualifying for the playoffs.
Tomlin has his biggest test ahead of him in his young coaching career. He wouldn’t go into details but he was furious with the notion that players were questioning Ben Roethlisberger’s toughness.
Tomlin made it clear he set his team straight.
Steelers remaining schedule
12/6/09: Versus Oakland (3-8)
12/10/09: @ Cleveland (1-10)
12/20/09: Versus Green Bay (7-4)
12/27/09: Versus Baltimore (6-5)
1/3/10: @ Miami (5-6)
Analysis: Clearly not a cupcake schedule, Pittsburgh has the opportunity to get back on the winning track with Oakland and Cleveland on their schedule the next two weeks.
The final three games will be difficult ones. Green Bay has an high octane offense and are winners of three straight. They are playing their best football in the stretch run.
Baltimore is a vulnerable team but they are always a tough out. Miami is a talented team but will likely be out of the playoff picture in week 17.
11-5 guarantees a playoff spot and 10-6 probably gets the Steelers in. Jacksonville and Baltimore each have a tough schedule the rest of the way. Jacksonville has matchups against New England and Indianapolis remaining.
For the Steelers to have the opportunity to defend their crown, they’re going to have to “unleash hell in December.”
AFC Playoff Picture
1. Indianapolis (11-0)
2. Cincinnati (8-3)
3. San Diego (8-3)
4. New England (7-3)
5. Denver (7-4)
6. Baltimore (6-5)
In the Hunt
7. Jacksonville (6-5)
8. Pittsburgh (6-5)
9. Miami (5-6)
10. Houston (5-6)
11. New York Jets (5-6)
12. Tennessee (5-6)
Tiebreakers: Pittsburgh owns head to head tiebreakers with Denver, San Diego, and Tennessee.