The Pittsburgh Steelers head into their Monday night game against the San Francisco 49ers knowing that they now control their own destiny in regards to the number one seed in the AFC and home field advantage throughout the playoffs. The chance to control their own destiny comes after the Baltimore Ravens lost tonight 34-14 on the road to the San Diego Chargers, and that loss now drops them to 10-4 on the season. That loss combined with the Houston Texans loss earlier in the day against the Carolina Panthers now means that the Steelers could have a full game lead on both teams if they can take care of the 49ers Monday night at Candlestick Park.
The New England Patriots won on the road this afternoon against the Denver Broncos and although they have moved to 11-3 on the season, the Steelers still own tiebreakers over them thanks to their win over the Patriots back in week 9 at Heinz Field. Should the Steelers end up winning Monday night, they will have a shot of running the table against the St. Louis Rams and the Cleveland Browns. The Ravens still have the Browns and the Cincinnati Bengals left on their schedule.
The Steelers clinched a playoff spot earlier in the afternoon after the Indianapolis Colts knocked off the Tennessee Titans and the Ravens also clinched a spot earlier in the day before taking the field against the Chargers tonight. So far the Steelers, Texans, Patriots and Ravens are the only four teams to clinch AFC playoff spots.
There is still no word if Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will start against the 49ers due to his left ankle injury suffered against the Browns last week, but he was able to get a small amount of work in late this week and that ankle has to be feeling a little bit better following the Ravens loss Sunday night.