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AFC Playoff Picture: Pittsburgh Steelers' best-case scenario is the 3rd seed

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The Pittsburgh Steelers are one of the hottest teams in the NFL after winning three consecutive games, giving them their first playoff spot since 2012, but the third seed in the AFC is the best the team can do.

Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers' victory over the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday cemented their name in the AFC Playoff picture, but where the team ends up among the top-6 teams is still up in the air. What isn't up in the air is how high the Steelers can climb heading into the final week of the NFL season playing the Cincinnati Bengals.

Per Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Elias Sports Beureau has determined the best-case scenario for the Steeelers is to land the third seed in the AFC playoff picture by beating the Bengals at Heinz Field next Sunday.

Regardless of the Denver Broncos' success or failure on Monday Night Football vs. the Bengals, the outcome will not affect the Steelers whatsoever. However, due to the Indianapolis Colts' loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, if the Steelers win in Week 17, they'll take the third seed regardless of the result of the Colts' final game against the Tennessee Titans. The Steelers hold the head-to-head tie-breaker over Indianapolis.

In summation, the Steelers aren't just playing for the AFC North title in Week 17, but also for the third seed in the post-season. All that equates to a home playoff game in the friendly confines of Heinz Field, as well as having the upper hand in being the highest seeded team in the AFC Wild Card round.

Even with a playoff spot already locked up, there's still plenty to play for if you're the Pittsburgh Steelers.

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