Steelers playoff scenarios entering Week 16

Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

After reading a few comment streams and thoroughly confusing myself as to what God-sent miracle needs to occur for the Steelers to qualify for the post-season, I decided to run through the NFL Playoff Machine to see how it could happen.

The outcomes that need to occur involve the 5 teams that are still mathematically eligible for the sixth seed.

They are: Dolphins, Ravens, Jets, Chargers, Steelers

Absolutes - Three "Alive" Teams Must Win out or Lose Out

The Steelers must win at Green Bay and at home vs. the Browns. One loss and we're out.

The Jets must win at home vs the Browns and win at the Dolphins. One loss and we're out.

The Dolphins must lose at Buffalo and lose at home vs the Jets. One win and we're out.

Variable Scenarios - Two teams must finish at best at .500. None of this matters if the "absolutes" are not satisfied.

The Ravens must lose two of their remaining three games: at Detroit, at home vs. New England, and at the Bengals. The combination does not matter, they just have to go 1-2 or 0-3.

The Chargers must lose at home vs. the Raiders or lose at home vs the Chiefs. Again, it doesn't matter which way the chips fall, they just have to go 1-1 or 0-2.

Outcomes - Going with the most complicated tiebreakers here

Final Records:

Steelers: 8-8

Ravens: 8-8

Dolphins: 8-8

Jets: 8-8

Chargers: 8-8

In this scenario, as many others have pointed out, the tiebreakers are settled at the divisional level for 3 or more tied teams. Due to divisional record, the Jets outpace the Dolphins, and the Steelers trump the Ravens due to a superior record against common opponents.

Which brings us to Steelers, Jets, Chargers. In this scenario, the Steelers outpace the Jets and Chargers due to a better conference record.

Here's the playoff machine if you want to run through your own scenarios:

Go Steelers, Bills, Jets, Lions/Patriots/Bengals and Raiders/Chiefs.

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