The Steelers are scheduled to play the 2-10-1 Cincinnati Bengals on Monday Night Football and a win is more important than ever for they clinch the division with a win. However, there are plenty of games that are crucial to their playoff hopes, in and out of the division. Most of the time, Steelers fans know who to root for. But here’s a guide to significant matchups, and whose losses Pittsburgh would benefit more from this weekend. Once again, the black-and-gold need to win for this wish list to be viable. But any edge on the competition in the AFC is welcome.
Here are the conference standings going in to Week 15
e: Eliminated x: Clinched playoff berth y: Clinched division z: Clinched conference
- x Kansas City Chiefs (+1) 12-1: Would win AFC West and earn a bye in Round
- x Pittsburgh Steelers (-1) 11-2: Would win AFC North and host Miami in Round 1
- Buffalo Bills (No change) 10-3: Would win AFC East and host Indianapolis in Round 1
- Tennessee Titans (No change) 9-4: Would win AFC South and host Cleveland in Round 1
- Cleveland Browns (No change) 9-4: Would earn the first Wild Card and travel to Tennessee
- Indianapolis Colts (+1) 9-4: Would earn the second Wild Card and travel to Buffalo
- Miami Dolphins (-1) 8-5: Would earn the third Wild Card and travel to Pittsburgh
- Baltimore Ravens 8-5 (+1)
- Las Vegas Raiders (-1) 7-6
- New England Patriots (No change) 6-7
- Denver Broncos (No change) 5-8
- e Houston Texans (No change) 4-9
- e Los Angeles Chargers (No change) 4-9
- e Cincinnati Bengals (No change) 2-10-1
- e Jacksonville Jaguars (No change) 1-12
- e New York Jets (No change) 0-13
Buffalo Bills at Denver Broncos - Saturday 4:30 PM
As much as I despise Buffalo, I do recognize their immense talent with Stephon Diggs in the lineup. Plus, with their defeat of the Steelers last week, they are only a game back of the Steelers in the rankings right now. Denver has struggled this season, especially with injuries hampering them. But it is in Denver and Buffalo could be in for a letdown after their big win last week.
Who to root for: Denver Broncos
Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts - Sunday 1:00PM
It seems obvious to root against all AFC teams that are in the playoff picture at this particular juncture in the schedule. Indianapolis is a team that may benefit the Steelers more at this point by winning the AFC South. The Colts lose a tiebreaker because of a head-to-head loss against the Ravens, plus they may not be as dangerous against a divisional winner in the playoffs. With the Steelers hoping to beat the Colts in Week 16, it makes sense to have them win this week for sure. Because the Texans are a team that I typically root for, I’d rather see them get a higher pick. So a loss benefits them more for the future.
Who to root for: Indianapolis Colts
Detroit Lions at Tennessee Titans - Sunday 1:00PM
Just like Indianapolis is a team that may benefit the Steelers more as a division winner, Tennessee could benefit the Steelers more as a Wild Card team. The Titans, unlike their AFC South rivals, win a tiebreaker because of a head-to-head victory over the Ravens. Plus their running game may make them dangerous against a divisional winner in the playoffs.
Who to root for: Detroit Lions
New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins - Sunday 1:00 PM
The Dolphins were unable to help the Steelers last week when they couldn’t hold a lead over Kansas City. But beating the Patriots and staying ahead of the Baltimore Ravens would help keep the Steelers’ division rivals out of the playoffs. It may be tough for the Dolphins to win out, but their doing so is crucial if you don’t want to see B-more in the ‘offs.
Who to root for: Miami Dolphins
Jacksonville Jaguars at Baltimore Ravens - Sunday 1:00 PM
The problem with rooting for the Ratbirds last week is that now they are on the precipice of the playoffs again with a weak slate upcoming. But the Steelers did need a Browns loss, so sometimes you’ve got to make that deal with the devil. This week, not so much. The rooting guide is hypocritical in it’s very nature and I make no apologies for that. This week, Gardner Minshew is back. Hopefully, Steelers fans will be singing...”There must have been some magic in that cool porn-stache he wore, because when he came back for the Jags, they beat old Baltimore”. Won’t happen, but it would be cool.
Who to root for: Jacksonville Jaguars
Kansas City Chiefs at New Orleans Saints - Sunday 4:25 PM
Kansas City would have to lose two of their next three games and the Steelers would need to win out, in order for Pittsburgh to secure a first-round bye in the playoffs. Their slate includes the Falcons and Chargers at home after playing in the Big Easy. I think they might be a lock in the AFC. But you just don’t know.
Who to root for: New Orleans Saints
Cleveland Browns at New York Giants - Sunday 8:20 PM
The bigger question than who should you root for in this game should be is who do you abhor more? Is it Baker Mayfield, Kareem Hunt or Myles Garrett? Cleveland’s loss last week makes it so the Steelers only need to win one game to clinch the AFC North over the Brownies. The Giants could flush them down early.
Who to root for: New York Giants
Who do you like in these games for yinzer’s sake? Let us know in the comment section in this article or on BTSC social media, and if you want more explanation to these picks check out the new Rooting Guide podcast below: