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Steelers clinch No. 7 seed, set to play Bills in Wild Card

The Black & Gold are headed to the postseason...

Patrick Peterson #20 of the Pittsburgh Steelers and teammates celebrate after a play in the fourth quarter of a game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on January 06, 2024 in Baltimore, Maryland. Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers officially clinched a spot in the 2023-24 NFL Playoffs on Sunday with a 28-20 win from the Tennessee Titans over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Now, with a Bills win over the Dolphins in Week 18, Pittsburgh’s playoff fate is official. The Steelers have officially clinched the No. 7 seed in the playoffs, set to travel to face the No. 2 Buffalo Bills. The Bills sealed the deal with an interception from safety Taylor Rapp on a target to — who else — but Dolphins wideout (and former Steeler) Chase Claypool with just 1:17 left in the fourth quarter.

This Steelers-Bills Wild Card Round matchup will mark their first meeting against Buffalo this season, who hold an 11-6 regular-season record heading into the playoffs. Their last game against the Bills came in 2022, where they lost 38-3 on the road in Buffalo — Kenny Pickett’s first career start. He attempted 52 passes in that game, completing 34 of them for 327 passing yards, no touchdowns and a single interception.

The Steelers will now have to make a decision at quarterback moving forward, having gone 3-0 with Mason Rudolph under center while a now-healthy Kenny Pickett sits waiting to resume his role as a starter.

Regardless of who’s under center, it seems likely this team will continue to lean heavily on the run, having averaged 178.5 rushing yards over the past two weeks. Those efforts have been led by former first-round pick Najee Harris, who accounted for 234 of those rushing yards and 3 touchdowns in those outings.

Unfortunately, regardless of who’s under center, the Steelers will almost certainly be without star edge rusher T.J. Watt, who suffered a knee injury in Week 18. Noted as a Grade 2 MCL sprain, it was speculated that the injury could force Watt to miss a “couple of weeks”.

With Watt likely out, the Steelers will undoubtedly hope to get back safeties Minkah Fitzpatrick and Trenton Thompson, who have missed each of the past three games with knee and neck injuries, respectively. Most of the year for the Steelers on defense has unfortunately been defined by injuries to key contributors, but a number of key signings and practice squad elevations, including S Eric Rowe and LB Myles Jack among others, have kept them afloat.

The NFL’s 2023-24 Super Wild Card Weekend will take place with six games set to take place between Saturday, January 13 and Monday, January 15. Pittsburgh will now look to win their first playoff game since the 2016 season.

The Steelers will now travel to Buffalo to face the Bills in the Wild Card Round with kickoff set for Sunday, January 14 at 1 p.m. ET, airing on CBS and Paramount+.