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Week Eleven Rooting Guide: The (Long, Long, Unlikely) Road To The Playoffs

Slim as the chances may be, the Steelers are technically still alive for a playoff berth. It'd take a whole lot of help, and it's as long a longshot as you're likely to see, but there's no sense in giving up hope until the Black and Gold have been mathematically eliminated.  

With that in mind, here's your week eleven rooting guide for this weekend. Root for the following teams to win their games this week, along with Pittsburgh:

Atlanta over Baltimore - It might be that the division is Pittsburgh's best chance of getting into the playoffs. The Steelers still have two remaining games with Baltimore, but they'll need help elsewhere, too. Atlanta can get Pittsburgh within three games if the Falcons beat Baltimore and the Steelers handle Cleveland.

Chicago over New York Jets - The Jets lurk as potential Wild Card threats, especially when you consider that after the Bears, none of their remaining six opponents currently holds a winning record. A Bear win coupled with a Steelers win would put Pittsburgh within a game of New York.

New Orleans over Cincinnati - Well, duh. Steelers can tie the Bengals with a Pittsburgh win and Cincy loss.

Oakland over Kansas City - We can dream, right? The Steelers just need to even up with Kansas City; they already own the tiebreaker (head-to-head).

New York Giants over Jacksonville - The inconsistent Jaguars still two full games ahead of Pittsburgh. They also own the head-to-head tiebreaker, meaning the Steelers really sit three games back. This is one of the reasons why the unlikely road to the playoffs would probably be through a division title for Pittsburgh.

The rest of the games don't affect Pittsburgh much. Sure, we could root for a San Diego collapse, but the odds of passing the Chargers are much, much closer to none than slim. San Diego holds a full four game lead over Pittsburgh, with the tie-breaker. Ain't gonna happen.

If all of the above won, including Pittsburgh:

*The Steelers would improve to 4-6, tied with Cincinnati for 2nd place in the AFC North.
*The Steelers would sit three games behind Baltimore, with two head-to-head matcups remaining.
*The Steelers would move into a tie for second place in the wild card with Cincinnati, one game behind Jacksonville, New York Jets, and Kansas City.

Again, it's a longshot, but certainly within the realm of possibilities.

None of it matters, though, unless Pittsburgh starts a serious, serious winning streak.

Go Steelers!! Beat Cleveland!!