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AFC Playoff Picture: The Steelers’ Week 11 win over the Titans keeps them in the driver’s seat

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The Pittsburgh Steelers aren’t passengers, for once, in the AFC Playoff Picture.

NFL: Tennessee Titans at Pittsburgh Steelers Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers were victorious for the fifth straight time Thursday night when they beat the Tennessee Titans 40-17 on Thursday Night Football. The win lifted their record to 8-2 on the season, and, for once, the team finds themselves in the driver’s seat, and not the passenger seat, in the race for home-field advantage.

Think about all the times Steelers fans have had to scoreboard watch in the final quarter of the season, hoping everything goes right for their favorite team to get into the postseason. Whether it was the Ryan Succop miss for Kansas City vs. the Chargers in 2013 which almost resulted in the perfect day of football for black-and-gold fans, only to see their dreams dashed. Or the 2015 season which came down to Week 17 and the Buffalo Bills beating the New York Jets to give the Steelers a new season.

For now, the Steelers won’t have to worry about those type of things. Why? Because if they keep winning they won’t need anyone’s help.

Some may suggest it is too early to be talking about the AFC Playoff Picture, but when it comes to the road to Super Bowl 52 coming through Heinz Field, not many Pittsburgh fans should object to this practice.

Let’s update the standings after Week 11 has officially gotten underway after Thursday Night Football:

1. Pittsburgh Steelers - 8-2
2. New England Patriots - 7-2 (NE @ OAK - game played in Mexico)
3. Jacksonville Jaguars - 6-3 (JAX @ CLE)
4. Kansas City Chiefs - 6-3 (KC @ NYG)
5. Tennessee Titans - 6-4
6. Buffalo Bills - 5-4 (BUF @ SD)
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7. Baltimore Ravens - 4-5 (BAL @ GB)
8. Oakland Raiders - 4-5 (OAK vs. NE)
9. Miami Dolphins - 4-5 (MIA vs. TB)
10. New York Jets - 4-6

Yes, the Steelers vs. Patriots game is looming large in a few weeks, but the Steelers, and their 5-game winning streak, have put some pressure on the Patriots. One slip up and the entire complexity of the Playoff Picture can change in a big way.

There is a lot of football left to be played, but with Pittsburgh sitting at 8-2, before the mini bye week after a Thursday game, and 4 of their last 6 games in the friendly confines of Heinz Field, you have to love their chances at doing something which hasn’t been done since 2004.

Having home field advantage throughout the playoffs.