Neither boom nor bust option appears likely for the 2013 Pittsburgh Steelers.
Pointed out by Tribune-Review reporter Alan Robinson, Football Outsiders - an advanced NFL statistics web site - simulated each of the Steelers' remaining seven games and based on that, the site gives Pittsburgh a four percent chance of grabbing the No. 6 seed in the playoffs, a 2.8 percent chance of winning the AFC North and a 3.4 percent chance of getting a draft pick in the top three.
They have a 0.2 percent chance of getting the first overall pick, and a 0.1 percent chance of getting a first-round bye in the postseason.
That's enough for the high and the low of a down season in Pittsburgh. More than anything, what those numbers represent is a season in which the Steelers have long odds to do something with significant meaning - making the playoffs after a 2-6 start or drafting in the top three for the first time since 1970.
The Steelers haven't drafted higher than No. 7 since 1989 (Tim Worley) and haven't missed the playoffs in consecutive years since 1998-2000.
The Bengals were running away with the AFC North lead, and their defense has largely held serve even without the presence of All-World defensive tackle Geno Atkins. But offensively, they're still struggling to run the football and quarterback Andy Dalton has back-to-back three-interception games heading into a critical Week 11 game against Cleveland.
The Browns aren't out of the hunt, either, and a win against the in-state Bengals puts them one half-game behind Cincinnati. Same for Baltimore, who's playing at Chicago in Week 11.
More from Behind the Steel Curtain:
- Lions vs. Steelers: Everything you need to know
- Steelers red zone woes aren't discouraging Ben Roethlisberger from wanting to be aggressive
- Lions vs. Steelers: Beware the throwbacks
- Lions vs. Steelers: Ours will be on the field
- This week, the Steelers will pounce on the Lions at home
- 5 Burning Questions as Pittsburgh Prepares for "Megatron"