Edit: Ok apparently a similar post has been made, sorry about that. Was just bored and trying to avoid finals preparation :)
Ok, so many of you probably already were thinking that the Steelers would need to win out to make the playoffs, but I'm just going to show you why it is absolutely necessary, in my opinion.
Basically, the battle for the last AFC Wild Card spot comes down to Houston (5-7), Tennessee (5-7), New York (6-6), Miami (6-6), Baltimore (6-5 atm), Pitt (6-6), and the current leader, Jax (7-5).
Now there is going to be a lot of opinion in the following, but this is essentially how I see the race unfolding. Though Houston and Tennessee's upcoming schedules are fairly easy, I'm going to assume that neither team manages to win 4 in a row, and both fall out of the picture with 8-8 records. Next up is Miami and New York, both of whom have fairly tough upcoming schedules. Though you could make a case for New York going 3-1 (TB, ATL, IND, CIN), I see them losing to both Indianapolis and Cincy, leaving them at 8-8. Miami has Jax, Tenn, Houston and closes against us. I have them losing to us and Tenn at least, leaving them 8-8 at best.
So now I've pretty much narrowed this down to a three horse race; Jax, Baltimore, and us. Let's start with Jacksonville. They have Miami, Indy, NE, and Cleveland. That game against Miami (in Jacksonville) is going to be huge. If Miami can win then we can essentially take the Jags out of the picture I think, as I don't see them beating NE or Indy. With a win over the Browns they'd finish at 8-8, making this now a two horse race. If they beat Miami, they'll likely finish at 9-7, and they'd own the conference record tiebreaker against us.
Ok, so lets assume the Jags finish 8-8 and look at the Ravens schedule. At GB tonight, home for Lions and Bears, at Pitt, and finsih at Oakland. If GB wins tonight like I think they will, and we take care of business at home against them (which we'll need to for the sake of this argument), then the ravens probably finish the year 9-7, picking up their final three wins against Detroit, Chicago, and Oakland. These following events would also give the Ravens a 7-5 conference record and 3-3 division record.
Now lets finally look at our schedule. At Browns (W), home for GB (L), home for Ratbirds (W), at Miami (W). This is how I see it unfolding anyway. These events would leave us at 9-7, with 7-5 conference record, and a 3-3 division record; exactly the same as the Ravens.
So with the head-to-head, conference record, and division record tiebreakers settling nothing, next up is the common games record.
Baltimore and our common opponents were: Cincy, Cleveland, KC, SD, OAK, CHI, DET, MIN, DEN and GB. If I added these up correctly and my predictions are correct, our record in these games will end up being 6-6. The Ravens' will end up being 8-4, therefore handing them the tiebreaker. (Remember none of this tiebreaker stuff matters for us if the Jags go 9-7)
So, in conclusion, unless the Ravens manage to lose to one of Detroit, Chicago or Oakland, 9-7 will not cut it for us and the Ravens will end up heading to the playoffs. (Side note, if the Ravens do manage to beat GB tonight, but lose to Oakland, we will win the conference record tiebreaker. Unless we consequently lost to Miami while beating GB.)
Obviously, anything can happen in the NFL, as we've seen with recent losses to KC and OAK, but counting on the Ravens to commit similar follies would be foolish in my opinion. So basically, pray to god that GB wins tonight and that we can find a way to in turn beat GB in a couple weeks and run the table. I think we can handle the rest of our schedule if we can find a way to right the ship on defense, but that GB game is going to be what decides our season in my opinion. 10-6 gets us in.
(Like I said, a lot of opinion in here...feel free to disagree!)