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Loss of T.J. Watt doesn’t help Steelers standing in latest NFL power rankings

The Pittsburgh Steelers are the No. 7 seed in the AFC playoff picture, but where does that place them in the NFL power rankings?

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Mason Rudolph #2 of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Najee Harris #22 celebrate after a touchdown 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 Rob Carr/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers are the No. 7 seed in the AFC playoff picture. The Steelers may be underdogs against the Buffalo Bills this weekend, but where does that put them in this week’s power rankings?

Here’s a look at the Pittsburgh Steelers’ standing in NFL power rankings ahead of Super Wild Card Weekend in the 2023-24 NFL playoffs.

USA Today writer Joe Hoefling ranked the Steelers at No. 14.

It’s no wonder the Steelers rank this low. The team in on their third-string quarterback. Their defense just lost their world-class pass rusher, T.J. Watt. They barely snuck into the playoffs by the hair on their chinny-chin-chins. A 10-7 record and a date with the Buffalo Bills does not stoke much confidence in sports bettors.

The Athletic’s Josh Kendall at No. 14

T.J. Watt recorded his 19th sack Saturday and became the first player to lead the NFL in official sacks in three seasons. (Deacon Jones is credited with doing it five times before the league started keeping sacks as an official stat.) The problem is Watt also suffered an MCL sprain late in that game. His brother and aspiring media member J.J. (who also happens to be one of the players who has led the NFL in sacks in two seasons) thinks T.J. can return if the Steelers manage to get a win this weekend.

Bleacher Report also had the Steelers at No. 14.

Not many pundits are going to give the Pittsburgh Steelers a chance at a long playoff run. This is a team that ranked 25th in scoring offense during the regular season. A team that was beaten by 14 points by the Arizona Cardinals in Week 13. A team that started three different quarterbacks this season and won in Week 18 largely because the Baltimore Ravens sat many of their starters.

But Pittsburgh’s win, combined with Jacksonville’s collapse Sunday, has put the Steelers in the playoffs.

The Steelers will head to Buffalo as big-time underdogs in the Wild Card Round—and it appears they will have to try to knock off the Bills without their best defender. Edge-rusher T.J. Watt suffered an MCL injury in the win over the Ravens that has likely ended his season.