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AFC Playoff Picture: Steelers playoff hopes remain strong after Week 15

Week 15 is in the books for the AFC, and we update the Playoff Picture and the Steelers’ chances of making some noise in the postseason.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 15, ending the Bengals’ hopes of making the postseason, but also keeping pace with the rest of the AFC. Believe it or not, at 9-5, the Steelers playoff hopes are anything but certain.

The Steelers can clinch the AFC North, and a playoff berth, by beating the Baltimore Ravens at Heinz Field in Week 16, and there is still a chance to get into the postseason if they were to lose the game and beat the Cleveland Browns in Week 17.

Before talking scenarios, time to update the AFC Playoff Picture.

AFC Playoff Picture (Week 15)

1. New England Patriots xz - 12-2 - Remaining Games: vs. Jets (4-9), at Dolphins (9-5)
2. Oakland Raiders z - 11-3 - Remaining Games: vs. Colts (7-7), at Broncos (8-6)

3. Pittsburgh Steelers - 9-5 - Remaining Games: vs. Ravens (8-6), vs. Browns (0-14)
6. Miami Dolphins - 9-5 - Remaining Games: at Bills (7-7), vs. Patriots (12-2)

4. Houston Texans - 8-6 - Remaining Games: vs. Bengals (5-8-1), at Titans (8-6)
5. Kansas City Chiefs - 10-4 - Remaining Games: vs. Broncos (8-6), at Chargers (5-8)

x - Clinched 1st round bye
z - Clinched Playoff Spot

In the hunt:

7. Baltimore Ravens - 8-6 - Remaining Games: at Steelers (9-5), at Bengals (5-8-1)
8. Tennessee Titans - 8-6 - Remaining Games: at Jaguars (2-12), vs. Texans (8-6)
9. Denver Broncos - 8-6 - Remaining Games: at Chiefs (10-4), vs. Raiders (11-3)
10. Indianapolis Colts - 7-7 - Remaining Games: at Raiders (11-3), vs. Jaguars (2-12)
11. Buffalo Bills - 7-7 - Remaining Games: vs. Dolphins (9-5), at Jets (4-9)

If the Steelers beat the Ravens, they clinch the AFC North and a playoff berth, but their playoff seed will be anything but set in stone. By winning the game the Steelers would be in prime position for the No. 3 position, and host a Wild Card game against the No. 6 seed, but depending on the Chiefs and Raiders, they could move up to the No. 2 seed.

Heading into Week 15 the Steelers needed the Raiders and Chiefs to both go 1-2 in the final 3 games, with Pittsburgh winning out. The Chiefs lost to the Titans in Week 15, but the Raiders beat the Chargers. Needless to say, the final two weeks of the regular season will be exciting to watch.