The revenge game is over and Pittsburgh finished it. Of course, we were all well aware of the emotions and vitriol that surrounded the matchup. We are also aware of the significance of winning vs. losing when the Steelers take the field against the Pittsburgh West in Arizona this weekend. Of course, the Steelers do still need to win, but other games still have a direct impact on them. With parity ablaze in the AFC, the playoff contenders are far from being determined. However, it starts taking more and more of a shape with every passing week.
Most of the time, Steelers fans know who to root for. But here’s a guide to significant matchups, and whose losses the Steelers would benefit more from this weekend. Once again, the Steelers need to win for this wish list to be viable. For those that argue that this is a fruitless exercise, then think of this as a rooting guide for the Steelers traded first-rounder to go later.
If the season ended today, the Steelers would be the sixth seed in the AFC, but there are plenty of teams to root for in other action.
Here are the current AFC playoff standings.
- Baltimore Ravens 10-2 (Would win AFC North and earn a First Round Bye)
- New England Patriots 10-2 (Would win AFC East and earn a First Round Bye)
- Houston Texans 8-4 (Would win AFC South and host Wild Card Pittsburgh)
- Kansas City Chiefs 8-4 (Would win AFC West and host Wild Card Buffalo)
- Buffalo Bills 9-3 (Would earn Wild Card and travel to Kansas City)
- Pittsburgh Steelers 7-5 (Would earn Wild Card and travel to Houston)
- Tennessee Titans 7-5
- Oakland Raiders 6-6
- Indianapolis Colts 6-6
- Cleveland Browns 5-7
- Jacksonville Jaguars 4-8
- Denver Broncos 4-8
- Los Angeles Chargers 4-8
- New York Jets 4-8
- Miami Dolphins 3-9
- X Cincinnati Bengals 1-11
Indianapolis Colts at Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Sunday 1:00 PM
A Steeler win and an Indy loss puts Pittsburgh much closer to knocking them out of the WC race altogether.
Who to root for: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Baltimore Ravens at Buffalo Bills - Sunday 1:00 PM
I know it will feel dirty to root for the Ravens, but the Steelers do benefit more from Buffalo losing.
Who to root for: Baltimore Ravens
Denver Broncos at Houston Texans - Sunday 1:00 PM
The Texans are ahead of the Steelers and could be their opponent in the playoffs (should both teams make it), but still you want the other teams ahead to fall closer to your record.
Who to root for: Denver Broncos
Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns - Sunday 1:00 PM
The Browns have surpassed Cincy on the enemy list (even though the Steelers may have knocked them back) and they are technically still in it. Plus, I want to see them lose more and more and see the Bengals win their way out of the No. 1 pick.
Who to root for: Cincinnati Bengals
Kansas City Chiefs At New England Patriots - Sunday 4:25 PM
I know I’m asking a lot for you to root for Baltimore and New England in the same week. But KC needs to lose to stay in the four seed. Watching the Pats lose is always fun, but it doesn’t help Pittsburgh’s cause as much.
Who to root for: New England Patriots
Tennessee Titans at Oakland Raiders - Sunday 4:25 PM
Tennessee has a rough road ahead, but they need to lose now and the Steelers need a cushion going into the Buffalo game next week.
Who to root for: Oakland Raiders
Other AFC Games in Week 14:
Miami Dolphins at New York Jets
Los Angeles Chargers at Jacksonville Jaguars