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AFC Playoff Picture: Where the Steelers reside heading into Week 14

Taking an early look at where the Steelers are in the AFC Playoff Picture heading into Week 14.

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2021 season is 12 games old, and they sit at 6-5-1 heading into a Week 14 matchup with the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday Night Football, in Minnesota. With five games remaining, it is time we take a look at the AFC Playoff Picture, and what might need to take place for the black-and-gold to get into the postseason.

While the Steelers season hasn’t gone as planned, the AFC remains a muddled mess of teams who are just a game or two away from one another. This Playoff Picture can, and likely will, dramatically change by the week. This week it is New England who tops the AFC ranks, but recent history has shown those who take that spot don’t stay there very long.

Let’s take a look at where things sit heading into Week 14:

1. New England Patriots (9-4) Remaining schedule: at IND, vs. BUF, vs. JAX, at MIA
2. Tennessee Titans (8-4) Remaining schedule: vs. JAX, at PIT, vs. SF, vs. MIA, at HOU
3. Baltimore Ravens (8-4) Remaining schedule: at CLE, vs. GB, at CIN, vs. LAR, vs. PIT
4. Kansas City Chiefs (8-4) Remaining schedule: vs. LV, at LAC, vs. PIT, at CIN, at DEN
5. Los Angeles Chargers (7-5) Remaining schedule: vs. NYG, vs. KC, at HOU, vs. DEN, at LV
6. Cincinnati Bengals (7-5) Remaining schedule: vs. SF, at DEN, vs. BAL, vs. KC, at CLE
7. Buffalo Bills (7-5) Remaining schedule: at TB, vs. CAR, at NE, vs. ATL, NYJ.

In the hunt:
8. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-5-1) Remaining schedule: at MIN, vs. TEN, at KC, vs. CLE, at BAL
9. Indianapolis Colts (7-6) Remaining schedule: BYE, vs. NE, at ARI, vs. LVR, at JAX
10. Las Vegas Raiders (6-6) Remaining schedule: at KC, at CLE, vs. DEN, at IND, vs. LAC
11. Cleveland Browns (6-6 ) Remaining schedule: vs. BAL, vs. LVR, at GB, at PIT, vs. CIN
12. Denver Broncos (6-6) Remaining schedule: vs. DET, vs. CIN, at LVR, at LAC, vs. KC
13. Miami Dolphins (6-7) Remaining schedule: BYE, vs. NYJ, at NO, at TEN, vs. NE

With five weeks remaining in the NFL regular season, anything is possible to make these standings completely flip. For instance, if the Steelers beat the Vikings on Thursday Night Football, and the Browns beat the Ravens coming off their bye week, expect these standings to look extremely different heading into Week 15.

Nonetheless, the Steelers still need to take care of their business if they want to be considered a legitimate threat in the AFC. Right now they are on the outside looking in, but when you look at the rest of their schedule it is daunting, but can also show what the Steelers are, or aren’t, made of this season.

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the Vikings this Thursday night.