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AFC Playoff Picture: Steelers can give themselves the gift of a bye on Christmas Day

Thanks to the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Steelers have plenty to play for in Week 16.

New England Patriots v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

After a tough Week-15 loss, many thought the Pittsburgh Steelers could experience a letdown in Week 16 when they travel to the Houston Texans on Christmas Day. While this might have been the case before the full slate of Sunday games, it couldn’t be further from the truth regarding where the team sits heading into their matchup with Houston.

Prior to Week 16, the Steelers could clinch a first-round bye in the AFC Playoffs if the following happened:

Jacksonville Jaguars lose to the San Francisco 49ers, and the Steelers beat the Texans

Well, the first half of that equation has come to fruition with the 49ers pulling off the upset at home vs. Jacksonville. So—you guessed it—if the Steelers beat the Texans, they will be at worst the No. 2 seed in the AFC Playoff Picture.

When you look at the injured and banged-up players on the roster, namely Antonio Brown, there should be a clear sense of urgency among the Steelers to win and secure the extra week off before they play in the AFC Divisional Round.

It should be noted, even at this point, if the Steelers were to lose Monday vs. the Texans, all they would need to do is win in Week 17 vs. the Browns to still claim the bye week. But to keep pressure on the Patriots for the top seed, and possibly rest some players in the final week, winning on Christmas is now a lot more important.

Stay tuned to BTSC for the latest from the Steelers as they press on towards the postseason.