Let's take a closer look at the possible seedings from 1-6 in the AFC now that the playoff picture got a little bit clearer this week.
2) Pittsburgh Steelers
5) Indianapolis - top AFC Wild Card
STILL TO BE DETERMINED - AFC East Champion and #3 Seed:
* Miami secures #3 seed with W at New York Jets.
* New England secures #3 seed with W at Buffalo and Miami loss to NYJ
* New York Jets secure #3 seed with W vs. Miami and New England L @ Buffalo
STILL TO BE DETERMINED - 2nd Wild Card and #6 Seed:
* Baltimore secures #6 seed with W vs. Jacksonville
* Baltimore secures #6 seed with Miami L @ New York and New England L @ Buffalo
* New England secures #6 seed with W @ Buffalo and Baltimore L vs. Jacksonville (assuming MIA wins @ NJY and wins division)
* New York Jets secure #6 seed with W vs. Miami and Baltimore L vs. Jacksonville (assuming NE wins @ Buffalo and wins division)
WHAT IT MEANS FOR PITTSBURGH:
Well, it's actually still quite a mess in the #3 and #6 seed races, and with the Steelers locking up the #2 seed by virtue of losing to Tennessee on Sunday, that holds extra significance. Here's what we know:
1) Indy (#5) will travel to play either San Diego or Denver. San Diego of course is playing great the past three weeks. If they were to win, thatd be a great game between the two hot clubs. Assuming though Indy won that game (they definitely will beat Denver if they face off), then...
- Indy travels to Tennesee if the #3 seed beats the #6 seed
- Indy travels to Pittsburgh if the #6 seed beats the #3 seed.
You can decide for yourself what matchups you'd hope to see, but basically I think our loss against Titans made it more likely that we're going to face either Miami, New England or New York than it is likely we'd face a surging Colts or 'Bolts team. If the #6 seed wins, that team is heading to Nashville, regardless of what happens in the #5-#4 game. Baltimore could do it if they make the playoffs, but they're going to be traveling with a rookie QB regardless of how the AFC East shakes out. Lots still in play, but if Baltimore and Miami take care of business next week, the two of them will meet in Miami the following week. I think that's the most likely scenario for the time being, but you just never know. Week 17 doesn't always have this many scenarios still in play. Should be fun for the teams involved.