The Pittsburgh Steelers need a win Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens, with a loss to the New York Jets, to clinch a playoff spot in the 2015 AFC Playoffs. In other words, there is plenty to play for at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, MD for the boys in the black and gold. However, what about the other games in Week 16? Who should the Steelers, or their fans, be rooting for to help enhance the Steelers' position among the AFC elite in terms of playoff positioning?
Here is your Week 16 rooting guide:
Root for the Patriots
I feel like I need to go shower after typing that, but still the fact of the matter is if the Patriots beat the Jets, the Steelers should be able to coast into the postseason if they take care of their own business. If the Jets somehow beat the Patriots, the Steelers winning won't change their playoff hopes, but it could make for a very tense couple of weeks for Steelers fans.
Root for the Browns, unless you don't want to
If the Kansas City Chiefs lose any of their last two games, including their Week 16 game against Cleveland, it will make Pittsburgh's road to the No. 5 seed much easier. The Steelers as the No. 5 seed in the AFC Playoff picture would mean they would travel to the AFC South champion in the first round of the playoffs. Right now that team is the Houston Texans. A trip to play Brian Hoyer and Brandon Weedon certainly is more attractive than a trip to Denver or even Cincinnati in the first round of the postseason.
Flip a coin on Monday Night Football
The Monday Night Football game with the Denver Broncos and Cincinnati Bengals should be a great game to watch, with a ton on the line for both of these teams. For those clinging to the Steelers' chances of winning the AFC North, you want to root for the Broncos to continue their dominance over Cincinnati at Mile High -- the Bengals are 0-9 in Denver. If the Bengals lose their final two games, and with a Week 17 game against the Ravens it is highly unlikely, the Steelers could still claim the division crown if they win out. However, the highest seed they could grab in this scenario is the No. 3 seed, which would at least give the team another home game in 2015.
On the flip side of the coin, if the Bengals win on Monday night, and the Broncos lose their final two games, the highest seed the Steelers could grab in that situation is the No. 5 seed, as the Bengals would win the division and be the No. 2 seed as the Kansas City Chiefs would then claim the No. 3 seed and the AFC West.
There are a myriad of scenarios which could play out, and everyone has their specific route they want the Steelers to travel to their destination in the postseason. As for me, just clinching a playoff spot in Week 16 will be the greatest Christmas gift imaginable for a team who has dealt with so much adversity this season. With that said, it should be interesting to see how things pan out after Week 16 is officially in the books.