The AFC playoff picture is about as clear as a quarterback's head after a sack.
Despite calls for terminations, arrests and capital punishment from Steelers fans in regard to their team, the Steelers are very much alive in the hunt for a wild-card spot, as well as for the AFC-North title.
There are just about 900 things that need to happen first. Just kidding. It's less than that and lots of things can happen to set up the Steelers to be in a good spot heading into Week 15.
Steelers at Bengals
Who to root for: Steelers
This one's pretty obvious. The Steelers need to top AFC North-leading Cincinnati. The Bengals are 3.5-point favorites in the game, largely due to the fact they're playing at home and are riding a three-game winning streak.
Who to root for: Dolphins
The Steelers won't get any help one way or another when the Ravens take on the Miami Dolphins. Miami is a three-point home favorite over the Ravens, with the Dolphins currently sitting with the sixth seed in the AFC. Both teams are in a group of six bunched together in the AFC at 7-5. The Steelers join them as well as the Chiefs, Browns and Bills.
A Ravens' loss coupled with a Steelers win drops them a game behind the Steelers and 1.5 games behind the Bengals. A Cincinnati win with a Ravens loss would all but eliminate the Ravens (and Steelers) from the AFC North title race. A Ravens' loss to the Dolphins would bolster Miami's hold on the sixth seed. There are negatives to either winner in this game, and there are positives to either loser. Really no gain here.
Browns at Colts
Who to root for: Colts
The Browns are four-point underdogs at Indianapolis, and a loss would damage the Browns' tiebreaker scenario versus the Ravens and Steelers even more. When more than two teams in a division are tied, the first tiebreaker is games against each other. The Browns are already the odd team out with a 1-2 record against the Steelers and Ravens. The second tiebreaker is common opponents, and the Steelers would become the only team in the AFC North to defeat the Colts this year.
This makes up for the loss to Tampa Bay, but that's another story.
Indianapolis has all but clinched the AFC South already and possibly could make it official today with a win and a bunch of other things happening.
Chiefs at Cardinals
Who to root for: Cardinals
Kansas City is favored by a point over the floundering Cardinals, once the top-seed in the NFC. The loss of Carson Palmer has affected them drastically, and even being at home isn't helping them. The Chiefs sit at 7-5 after a tough two-game losing streak, and having them in the rear-view mirror of the Steelers (they're currently in seventh place) would be helpful. The Steelers will host the Chiefs in Week 16.
Bills at Broncos
Who to root for: Broncos
The good news is the Broncos are giving a whopping 10 points to the Bills in Denver. The bad news is we've seen all sorts of odd things this season, but everything suggests Buffalo is about to fall to 7-6. So does that mean Steelers fans have to root for Emmanuel Sanders? Nah. Peyton Manning has four other guys he can go to, so let's hope that happens.
Who to root for: Patriots
Asking Steelers fans to root for the Patriots is like asking Ike Taylor to catch a ball thrown over his head. You hope for it, but it just isn't going to happen, and we've accepted it.
The Chargers are currently the fifth-seed in the AFC, and are quietly giving the AFC West-leading (and second seeded) Broncos a run for the title. A win over the top-seeded Patriots would be a big feather in their caps, but the Pats are four-point road favorites for a reason. A Chargers loss and Steelers win would put them both at 8-5.