Each game that the Steelers take the field for, it’s about winning and not losing. That doesn’t always occur, but with the goal always being the playoffs... the other games become about seeding and matchups. Even though it's not the Black-and-gold playing, other contests matter to Steelers Nation. Thus, the Rooting Guide. Sure, the Steelers have to win to be contenders, but it’s never to early to try to get an early advantage on the competition in the AFC. Here’s a guide to other significant matchups, and whose losses the Steelers would benefit from more.
Here are the current AFC Power Rankings (ESPN)
- Kansas City Chiefs 1-1 (Last Week: 1 - No change)
- Buffalo Bills 1-1 (Last Week: 2 - No change)
- Baltimore Ravens 1-1 (Last Week: 3 - No change)
- Cleveland Browns 1-1 (Last Week: 4 - No change)
- Las Vegas Raiders 2-0 (Last Week: 11 - Up 6 spots)
- Pittsburgh Steelers 1-1 (Last Week: 4 - Down 2 spots)
- Denver Broncos 2-0 (Last Week: 12 - Up 5 spots)
- Tennessee Titans 1-1 (Last Week: 10 - Up 2 spots)
- Los Angeles Chargers 1-1 (Last Week: 6 - Down 3 spots)
- New England Patriots 1-1 (Last Week: 9 - Down 1 spot)
- Miami Dolphins 1-1 (Last Week: 7 - Down 4 spots)
- Indianapolis Colts 0-2 (Last Week: 8 - Down 4 spots)
- Cincinnati Bengals 1-1 (Last Week: 13 - No change)
- Houston Texans 1-1 (Last Week: 14 - No change)
- Jacksonville Jaguars 0-2 (Last Week: 16 - Up 1 spot)
- New York Jets: 0-2 (Last Week: 15 - Down 1 spot)
Carolina Panthers at Houston Texans - Thursday 8:20 PM (NFLN)
Who to root for: Carolina Panthers
This game is pretty much inconsequential to the Steelers. I’m rooting for Carolina because I really like Sam Darnold and what he’s doing there. But also, Houston has the same record as the Men of Steel. It’s unlikely that Davis Mills and the Texans catch fire, but you never know.
(The Panthers were victorious on Thursday night, beating the Texans 24-9.)
Washington Football Team at Buffalo Bills - Sunday 1 PM (FOX)
Who to root for: Washington Football Team
I was confident that Buffalo would rebound from their loss to the Steelers and they did so in a definitive fashion, beating Miami 35-0. This is a wagon that could start rolling away. It would be helpful to have the Football Team bounce Buffalo. It would be an extra bonus if they were to do it at Orchard Park and send Bills Mafia home again somber.
Chicago Bears at Cleveland Browns - Sunday 1 PM (FOX)
Who to root for: Chicago Bears
I don’t really need to explain the rooting guide here. When it’s brown, flush it down. They dodged the bullet with Baker last week. This is a resilient bunch that needs grounded. I’m not sure that the friendly ghosts of Monsters of the Midway past are the ones to do it. But one can dare to dream.
Baltimore Ravens at Detroit Lions - Sunday 1 PM (CBS)
Who to root for: Detroit Lions
The Ravens gained back a ton of momentum and swagger by coming back to stop the Chiefs in Week 2. All of Steelers Nation knows who to cheer against here in this particular matchup and, since the Lions are kind of a train wreck, you gotta hope that the sun shines on a dog’s butt this weekend.
Arizona Cardinals at Jacksonville Jaguars - Sunday 1 PM (FOX)
Who to root for: Jacksonville Jaguars
The Cardinals are starting off the 2021 season strong. The Jags are too, but it’s with a strong odor. Not much Steelers consequence here, but I shudder to think about Jacksonville having the No. 1 overall pick again. So, Go Jags!
Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs - Sunday 1 PM (CBS)
Who to root for: Los Angeles Chargers
C’mon Andy Reid. I think you do stuff on purpose to frustrate other NFL tams, especially Pittsburgh. All you had to do was beat the Ravens, but your team got cocky and blew it. Now the ratbirds have belief and momentum is forming. Just on principle, this team needs to lose. But this is text book rooting guide to cheer for a team that is still the AFC favorites in the AFC.
New Orleans Saints at New England Patriots - Sunday 1 PM (FOX)
Who to root for: New Orleans Saints
The Patriots will win some and lose some, but they don’t seem like a legitimate playoff threat. But it’s a Bill Belichick-coached team, so they always have the potential to make something out of nothing. Even if they don’t have a true chance, hate ‘em cause you ain’t ‘em.
Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans - Sunday 1 PM (CBS)
Who to root for: Indianapolis Colts
I really didn’t forecast the Colts to be winless at 0-2, but they’ve run into two pretty good teams from possibly the finest conference in the league, the NFC West. I don’t think that Frank Reich’s team is dead in the water. As for the Titans, they rebounded after a stinker in the opener against another NFC West team, Arizona. Right now, the Titans are the bigger threat and their wake-up call last week could signal a run. The Colts can help the Steelers and the AFC by tripping them up.
New York Jets at Denver Broncos - Sunday 4:05 PM (CBS)
Who to root for: New York Jets
Denver has a pretty good defense and Teddy Bridgewater has found a way to revive the offense. I thought that they would be good, but I didn’t know that the former Viking, Saint and Panther was going to be the magic maker. For Steelers sake, a Denver defeat would be beneficial.
Miami Dolphins at Las Vegas Raiders - Sunday 4:05 PM (CBS)
Who to root for: Miami Dolphins
More disturbing than the Steelers’ disappointing loss against Las Vegas was the fear that Jon Gruden’s crimson, round melon was going to explode on national television. I have never been a fan of Gruden. He kind of reminds me of Mr. Harbaugh in the Charm City. The Raiders don’t need to lose for my personal satisfaction, after two games they are basically two games ahead of the Steelers in the AFC. So Vegas needs to crap out this week.
Who do you like in these games for yinzer’s sake? Let us know in the comment section in this article or on BTSC social media. If you want more explanation to these picks check out the new Rooting Guide podcast below: