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AFC Playoff Picture: Huge Steelers win shakes up AFC rankings

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We continue tracking where the Steelers stand in the AFC Playoff Picture, and it is not looking so good for the black-and-gold.

NFL: New England Patriots at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers were coming off three straight disappointing losses to the Denver Broncos in Week 12, the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 13 and the Oakland Raiders in Week 14. But a lot was rectified when the Steelers finally beat the New England Patriots in Week 15. With the rest of the AFC wrapping up their games this week, it is time to put things in perspective as it relates to the AFC Playoff Picture.

The season is winding down, and it become imperative to check and see where the Steelers land as it relates to their positioning in the playoff race.

After Pittsburgh’s horrid start to the season, they have rebounded to the tune of an 8-5-1 record, and thanks to some losses to other AFC competitors, find themselves in a Top 4 spot in the AFC Playoff Picture. This week’s win doesn’t impact the Steelers, as much as the rest of the AFC Picture, but leaves the team with very little wiggle room down the stretch. The Steelers remain in the No. 4 spot, but by a literal thread over the surging Ravens.

So, before we go any further, time to update the Playoff Picture heading into Week 16.

AFC Playoff Picture Week 16

1. Kansas City Chiefs (11-3) [X]REMAINING OPPONENTS: at Seahawks, vs. Raiders
2. Houston Texans (10-4) — REMAINING OPPONENTS: at Eagles, vs. Jaguars
3. New England Patriots (9-5)REMAINING OPPONENTS: vs. Bills, vs. Jets
4. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5-1)REMAINING OPPONENTS: at Saints, vs. Bengals
5. Los Angeles Chargers (11-3)REMAINING OPPONENTS: vs. Ravens, at Broncos
6. Baltimore Ravens (8-6)REMAINING OPPONENTS: at Chargers, vs. Browns

X - Clinched Playoff Berth

______

In the hunt:

7. Indianapolis Colts (8-6) — REMAINING OPPONENTS: vs. Giants, at Titans
8. Tennessee Titans (8-6) — REMAINING OPPONENTS: vs. Redskins, vs. Colts
9. Miami Dolphins (7-7) — REMAINING OPPONENTS: vs. Jaguars, at Bills

For those who don’t know, the reason the Chargers, who have a better record than the Steelers, are behind in the standings is due to Pittsburgh leading their division and the Chargers being behind the Chiefs in the AFC West.

As for Pittsburgh, their remaining schedule doesn’t get any easier. A road trip to play the Saints, along with a home finale against the Bengals, await the Steelers in the coming weeks as the regular season winds down.

This doesn’t get an easier for Pittsburgh...

Take a look at the above standings, who do you see failing down the stretch? And which team will be a surprise to climb the rankings? Let us know in the comment section below!