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AFC Playoff Scenarios: What needs to happen for the Steelers to get in

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ playoff hopes remain alive, and here’s what needs to happen for them to get in.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers were winners in dramatic fashion Sunday night, beating the Baltimore Ravens 16-13 in prime time. The win kept their playoff hopes alive, but before the two teams even kicked off in Week 17, a lot needed to happen to keep that game meaningful.

In Week 17 the Steelers needed the following to happen for their playoff hopes and dreams to remain:

As was noted after the Dolphins lost in the early games, the Steelers would not have been eliminated from playoff contention even if the Jets won in Seattle. However, if the Jets would have won the Steelers only hope would have been in a Week 18 tie between the Dolphins and Jets. So, they would have essentially been eliminated.

Nonetheless, the Steelers entered the game Sunday night with the goal of keeping their playoff hopes alive for another week. They did their job vs. the Ravens, and now face a different scenario in Week 18.

So, what needs to happen for the Steelers to claim a Wild Cart playoff spot? Let’s take a look at the scenario:

Steelers Clinch wild card berth with:

Those might look like long odds for some, but there is more to it than at face value. The Bills, who play on Monday Night Football vs. the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 17, will likely have to keep pace with the Kansas City Chiefs for the top spot in the AFC Playoff Picture. Therefore, it is unlikely they rest players in the regular season finale.

As for the Dolphins, it is unclear if Tua Tagovailoa will be cleared to play after his third concussion of the season had him out of the lineup in Week 17. On top of that, Teddy Bridgewater was knocked out of the game with a reported broken finger, so the Dolphins might be leaning on rookie Skylar Thompson. Granted, it would mean the Jets, who were eliminated from postseason play in Week 17, would have to still beat the depleted Dolphins.

Will it happen? Will the Steelers find a way to get in? The fact this is even a discussion after a 2-6 start is amazing, so be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the Browns in Week 18.