I know things are grim going into this week. Depending on arch rivals to win so that you can get into the playoffs is about as good as asking Osama to give you a ride after your car broke down. But I think there is something to hope for this weekend and that something lies in a very unlikely place. That place is Oakland.
Rewind to last year, Tampa bay needing to win to get into the playoffs. They faced the hapless Raiders going into the last game of the year and with a win could get into the Playoffs. The game was at home in Tampa and the Raiders had nothing to play for. Then the unthinkable happened, the Raiders beat the Bucs sending them home for the playoffs with them. This opened the gate to the Eagles/Cowboys game which the Eagles thumped the Cowboys to make it into the playoffs.
With this in mind - Baltimore coming off a road defeat and having to travel on the road again all the way to the west coast to face the Raiders in a similar situation as the Bucs was in last year. Only difference is that this game is on the Road and that helps Oakland. The Ravens this season have dropped some games that they should have won and might come out stale after such a emotional defeat this past week. Also we all know it hard to go to the West Coast and win games.
This could be the unlikely key that will salvage this terrible season for the Steelers. While everyone is looking at the Cincy/Jets game - I'll be looking at Raiders/Ravens, the Ravens likely with no Ed Reed and hurt in the secondary could be vulnerable. You combine this with the facts that the Raiders play very good defense when they want to and if the offense put some points on the board they can be tough to beat. And as always turnovers can play a major role. I certainly have my hopes up that the Steelers can sneak into the Playoffs one way or another and get Troy back and try to make another run like 2005.