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Steelers playoff hopes dwindling ahead of Week 15

NFL: New England Patriots at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers’ playoff chances are still on shaky ground, but they are now back in the playoff picture. With the 34-14 loss for the Indianapolis Colts against the Cincinnati Bengals and Houston’s 30-6 loss to the New York Jets and Zach Wilson, the Steelers have moved back to the sixth seed in the AFC.

But that does not mean those standings are reasonable projections for their end-of-season finish. Here’s a look at how various models are projecting the Steelers’ playoff chances ahead of Week 15.

Steelers playoff chances ahead of Week 15

New York Times’ 2023 NFL Playoff Simulator: 26%

ESPN: 32.3%

DraftKings Sportsbook: +220 (31.3% chance based on implied probability)

Their next two games against the Indianapolis Colts and Cincinnati Bengals will likely decide their playoff fate. But if they can win both, they will probably have to snag a win in just one of their last two games against Seattle or Baltimore to get into the playoffs.

So, the Steelers’ playoff chances remain tenuous just by their own doing. But they have fallen behind the Cleveland Browns, who won 31-27 against the Jacksonville Jaguars to catapult up to the fifth seed. With the Denver Broncos and Buffalo Bills winning, Cincinnati fell back to the tenth seed. Pittsburgh, however, still owns tiebreakers over both of those teams. Six different teams are at 7-6 in the AFC playoff picture.

With the Ravens knocking off the Rams, they hold the top seed in the AFC at 10-3 and seem likely to win the AFC North despite the conglomeration of teams etched at that spot. Their odds to win the division are now at -1200 entering Week 15 on DraftKings Sportsbook — implying a 92.3% they take home the AFC North title.

Of course, the Steelers must care for their own business before looking at how the rest of the cookie crumbles. Most models have them at such a low percentage because they are projected to lose each of those games, currently 2.5-point road underdogs against the Colts for Week 15. If the Steelers win that game, their chances jump to 44% according to the New York Times NFL Playoff Simulator.