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AFC Playoff Picture: Steelers put pressure on Patriots after Sunday night win

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The Pittsburgh Steelers have clinched a playoff berth by winning the AFC North, and the pressure has officially been put on the Patriots.

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers took care of business vs. the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday Night Football in Week 14, and it was a gigantic win for the black-and-gold on so many levels.

First, the win clinched the AFC North championship before Week 15, in the process clinching a playoff berth for the Steelers in the AFC Playoffs.

Second, it helped keep the Ravens further down the standings, making their trip to the postseason anything but easy.

Next, the win gives the Steelers a tremendous shot at securing not just a first round bye, but home field advantage throughout the AFC Playoffs.

Lastly, the win over Baltimore puts pressure on the Patriots, as they prepare to play on Monday Night Football. If you are old enough to remember, in 2004 these two teams were in a very similar situation down the stretch. While the Steelers had already beaten the Patriots earlier that season at Heinz Field, they needed another New England loss to secure the number one seed, and the Patriots fell to the Dolphins on Monday Night Football — where they play tonight.

Either way you look at it, Pittsburgh’s latest win sets up a gigantic game next Sunday at Heinz Field. It could be between two 11-2 teams vying for the inside track to the No. 1 seed, or if the Patriots lose in Week 14, it could be a chance for the Steelers to put some distance between the two front runners in the conference.

A lot can change after Monday night’s game, and be sure to check back with BTSC for the latest and greatest surrounding the AFC North champion Pittsburgh Steelers.

AFC Playoff Picture

1. Pittsburgh Steelers - 11-2 - Remaining Schedule: vs. Patriots (10-2), at Texans (4-9), vs. Browns (0-13)
2. New England Patriots - 10-2 - Remaining Schedule: at Dolphins (5-7), at Steelers (11-2), vs. Bills (7-6), vs. Jets (5-7)
3. Jacksonville Jaguars - 9-4 - Remaining Schedule: vs. Texans (4-9), at 49ers (3-10), at Titans (8-5)
4. Kansas City Chiefs - 7-6 - Remaining Schedule: vs. Chargers (7-6), vs. Dolphins (5-7), at Broncos (4-9)
5. Tennessee Titans - 8-5 - Remaining Schedule: at 49ers (3-10), vs. Rams (9-4), vs. Jaguars (9-4)
6. Baltimore Ravens - 7-6 - Remaining Schedule: at Browns (0-13), vs. Colts (3-10), vs. Bengals (5-8)
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7. Los Angeles Chargers - 7-6 - Remaining Schedule: at Chiefs (7-6), at Jets (5-7), vs. Raiders (6-7)
8. Buffalo Bills - 7-6 - Remaining Schedule: vs. Dolphins (5-7), at Patriots (10-2), at Dolphins (5-7)
9. Oakland Raiders - 6-7 - Remaining Schedule: vs. Cowboys (7-6), at Eagles (11-2), at Chargers (7-6)