There's plenty to discuss and analyze regarding the Pittsburgh STeelers and their Week 12 overtime win over the Buffalo Bills. We'll get back to that shortly. With just five games remaining on the 2010 schedule however, it's worth taking stock of the AFC Playoff picture as we get set to enter the pivotal month of December.
Here's where things stand in both the AFC North, and the AFC collectively.
AFC North Standings
|Team||Record||Division Record||Conference Record||Notes|
|Baltimore Ravens||8-3||2-1||6-2||Baltimore can put a stranglehold on the division with a win against the Steelers next week.|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||8-3||2-1||6-2||If Pittsburgh hopes to earn one of the top two seeds in the AFC, they'll need to win at Baltimore next week.|
|Cleveland Browns||4-7||1-2||2-5||After consecutive heartbreaking losses, Cleveland catches a break in Week 12 win over Carolina|
|Cincinnati Bengals||2-9||1-2||1-7||The losing streak hits 8 after blowing yet another lead during Thursday night's loss to the Jets.
AFC Playoff Picture
|1||New York Jets||9-2||7-1||The Jets' next four are against teams with winning records, highlighted by road games against New England (Week 13) and Pittsburgh (Week 15)|
|2||Baltimore Ravens||8-3||6-2||Baltimore's fate will be determined this next three weeks - vs. Steelers, @ Houston, vs. New Orleans.|
|3||Kansas City Chiefs||7-4||4-4||Two straight wins for KC keeps them afloat while San Diego continues to breathe down their neck. With four AFC losses though, KC likely needs to win their division to make the playoffs.|
|4||Jacksonville Jaguars||6-5||5-3||Despite losing against the NYG, Jacksonville retains its lead in the wacky AFC South. Their Dec. 19th road date with the Colts will be a huge one.|
|5||New England Patriots||9-2||7-2||The Patriots notched their third straight W thanks to an avalanche of offensive production in the second half of their Thanksgiving day win over Detroit.|
|6||Pittsburgh Steelers||8-3||6-2||It's that type of year, I suppose. The No. 6 seed could either find themselves with a first-round bye, or out of the playoffs altogether depending on how things shake out in the forthcoming weeks. At 6-2 in conference though, the Steelers aren't in nearly as precarious a position as one might think.|
In The Hunt: (Record; Conf. Record)
San Diego: (6-5; 5-3)
Indianapolis: (6-5; 4-4)
Miami: (6-5; 4-4)
Houston/Tennessee: (5-6) (next to no chance at a Wild Card, but very much alive in AFC South)
- A great lineup of games next week: Steelers/Ravens and Patriots/Jets. We'll have a much clearer idea of where the top four teams in the conference stand after next week's action.
- A very interesting turn of events in the AFC South. Not too long ago, it looked like one or even two teams in the South would have a chance to contend for a Wild Card. Now, it looks like it's division crown or bust for the Jaguars, Colts, Texans and Titans. Somehow, even the Texans and Titans are alive and kicking heading into the final month of the season.
- Though I don't much care, it will be interesting to see if Kansas City can hold off San Diego. Assuming the Chiefs (vs. Denver) and the Chargers (vs. Oakland) both win next week, the stakes will be enormous when the two teams meet in Week 14.
My Playoff Predictions:
(Projected Final Record)
1. New England (13-3)
2. Pittsburgh (12-4)
3. San Diego (11-5)
4. Indianapolis (9-7)
5. Baltimore (11-5)
6. New York Jets (11-5)