- Steelers won their 6th game in a row
- Their record improved to 10-5
- Baltimore was eliminated from playoff contention
- Pittsburgh clinched the AFC North title
- Also clinching the No. 3 seed in the AFC Playoffs
- and it made the Week 17 game against the Cleveland Browns meaningless.
That last fact might be one of the most important, because if you haven’t noticed the Steelers are a banged up bunch. With the ability to rest players now in Week 17 the team has options.
Just look at some of the injuries who could benefit from an extra week of rest before the Steelers host the No. 6 seed in the Wild Card round of the AFC Playoffs.
Sammie Coates (hamstring)
Stephon Tuitt (knee)
Darrius Heyward-Bey (foot)*
Ben Roethlisberger (knee)*
Ladarius Green (concussion)
* played in Week 16
That is quite the list of players who could use some rest, and that doesn’t count the offensive line, Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown and defenders like Mike Mitchell, Ryan Shazier and Lawrence Timmons who could all use some rest.
With a meaningless game on the horizon, the Steelers have choices, and it will be up to Mike Tomlin to play, and rest, starters as much as possible, but to play someone like Roethlisberger, who clearly tweaked his knee in the 4th quarter, would be more than foolish.
In Ben Roethlisberger’s post-game press conference was asked if he thinks the Steelers should rest some players if given the chance, and he responded with how he thinks it would be wise to allow some players to “get healthy”.
Not only is this a great chance to get players some rest, it will be a good chance to get some rust off certain players. Guys like DeAngelo Williams, who has missed the last 6 weeks, could benefit greatly from playing time, along with Landry Jones, Robert Golden, Xavier Grimble and Demarcus Ayers, to name a few.
Mike Tomlin will address the media, and likely those who will, or won’t, play on Tuesday at noon. The Steelers and Browns will play on New Year’s Day, and the kickoff is set for 1:00 p.m. EDT.