With a 7-5 record, the Pittsburgh Steelers are in a 3-way tie for the AFC Wild Card, but due to tie-breakers, they are currently the seventh team in the AFC Playoff Picture. Being seventh means you're on the outside looking in, and the players will need to take care of business to regain control of their destiny. In fact, despite not enjoying that control currently as they head into Week 14, if the Steelers win the remainder of their four games, they will make the playoffs.
Before we go any further, time to take a look at the current AFC Playoff Picture heading into Week 14:
1. Cincinnati Bengals - 10-2 - BYE
2. Denver Broncos - 10-2 - BYE
3. New England Patriots - 10-2
6. New York Jets - 7-5
In the hunt:
7. Pittsburgh Steelers - 7-5
8. Buffalo Bills - 6-6
9. Houston Texans - 6-6
Take a look at the final four games for the Chiefs, Steelers, and Jets, the three teams vying for two final Wild Card spots in the playoffs:
So, who should the Steelers and their rabid fan base, be rooting for in Week 14? Here at BTSC we make it easy for you with this rooting guide. Here are the games which should be of interest to the Black-and-Gold, and the best-case scenario regarding the outcome which could significantly impact and improve the Steelers' chances at making the post-season in 2015.
Buffalo Bills at Philadelphia Eagles
AFC vs. NFC and the Buffalo Bills refuse to go away. This game is a no-brainer for Steelers fans. You want to Eagles to continue their hot streak and knock off the Bills. One less team hanging around only enhances Pittsburgh's chances at the post-season.
Tennessee Titans at New York Jets
A Jets' loss would go a long way if the Steelers are able to beat the Bengals in Week 14. The likelihood of the Titans beating the Jets might be rare, but they'll have the power of the Terrible Towel with them this Sunday. Maybe "Coach Dad", Dick LeBeau, will be able to cause some havoc for his old team.
San Diego Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs
If a loss for the Jets is important, then a loss by the Chiefs would be paramount. The Chiefs not only have the head-to-head win over Pittsburgh in hand, they also a better AFC record than Pittsburgh. If the Steelers have a hope of making their final four games smoother, any losses the Chiefs can accumulate between now and Week 17 will be more than welcome.
Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos
The Oakland Raiders are another team still considered "in the hunt" at 5-7. The Broncos have all but locked up their spot in the playoffs, but the Raiders are still hanging around. Since it's impossible for both teams to lose (trust me, when the Bengals play the Baltimore Ravens this may be possible), root for the Broncos to put the Raiders out of their misery.
New England Patriots at Houston Texans
At 6-6, the Houston Texans are also very much alive in the race for the sixth seed in the playoffs. Like the Broncos and Bengals, the Patriots have essentially locked up a playoff spot and are strictly playing for a bye week in the playoffs. As horrible as it sounds, Pittsburgh should be rooting for the Patriots to win this game on Sunday night, as a loss would plunge the Texans further into mediocrity.