Blitz and pahsad06 have done a good job breaking down the Steelers' slim wild card hopes, and while a lot of good things have to happen to Pittsburgh, we'll take the attitude that last year's Super Bowl winning team did and Never Say Die until we're officially eliminated from contention.
With that in mind, let's all be sure we're on the same page this weekend as we root on the Steelers and try to hex the competition.
Your Week 15 Rooting Guide:
Root for Pittsburgh over Carolina Duh. But just so there's no confusion: given the tiebreaker situation, Pittsburgh's only hope is a 9-7 finish. 8-8 is certain death.
Root for Tennessee over Jacksonville The Jaguars are the most annoying team in the AFC. They've got no chance of making a serious playoff run, but they're always in terrific position to secure a playoff spot. That's true again this year, despite dropping both of their intra-division games with Houston. Now it's time for Pittsburgh Steeler fans to jump on the Vince Young bandwagon and root for one more upset. A nine win Jaguars team is assured a playoff spot ahead of Pittsburgh; they own the head-to-head tiebreaker. Go Titans!
Root for Miami over Buffalo This one's simple. The Steelers own the tiebreaker over Miami (head-to-head), and wouldn't over the Bills (intra-conference record). Go Dolphins!
Root for Minnesota over New York Jets The Jets are 7-6, a game ahead of Pittsburgh, with three to play. If the Steelers and Jets both wind up 9-7, the tiebreak would move to conference play. If the Jets -do- finish 9-7, that'll mean they lost either to Minnesota, Miami, or Oakland. While an 8-8 finish for the Jets is ideal, if they -are- going to finish 9-7, we'd prefer for them to lose one of their final two AFC games. That would give them a 6-6 conference record, tied with Pittsburgh. The Steelers would likely win on strength of victory. Still, let's hope it doesn't come to that. We want the Jets out of this at 8-8. Go Vikings!
Root for Arizona over Denver Denver owns the head-to-head with Pittsburgh here, so we need the Broncos to drop two of three. Both this week's opponent, Arizona, and their final week tilt with San Francisco, involve improving teams, and the Broncos have the Bengals sandwiched in the middle. Ideally? Arizona beats Denver. Denver beats Cincinnati. San Francisco beats Denver. Yikes. Go Cardinals!
Root for San Diego over Kansas City The Chiefs are fading fast here, and the Steelers own the head to head tiebreak. One more loss and KC is done. Go Chargers!
Root like hell for Indianapolis over Cincinnati In the most inane of all rules, the tiebreak process involving three or more wild card teams is to, first, knock out the lower of the two teams within a division (assuming two come from one division). That means, should Pittsburgh get into a three-way tussle with Cincinnati and, say, the Jets, the Steelers would need to get past Cincinnati first to even earn the chance to tiebreak with the Jets. Anyway, that means if Cincinnati's involved, everyone else has to tank. Alternatively, Cincinnati could tank. The Bungals close out at Indy, at Denver, and at home against our Steelers. Go Colts!
There you have it, boys and girls. All your rooting interests for the weekend set out...
Get out your terrible towels and start waving 'em like crazy for the teams outlined above!
GO STEELERS! BEAT CAROLINA!