Categorized | Article

Despite Pardon, Steelers Season Remains On Death Row


By Matthew Marczi

If trends mean anything, the Pittsburgh Steelers will close out the season at 8-8 with a victory over the Cleveland Browns in the season finale. Throughout the year, the Steelers have exchanged series of wins and losses of varying length to get where they are now, which is at 7-8 through 15 games.

They kicked off the season with a disastrous 0-4 start before alternating pairs of wins and losses to arrive at 2-6. Since then, they have gone 5-2, winning three in a row before again losing two in a row and then winning two.

Because there’s only one game remaining, they can’t stack the losses—therefore, to continue the trend, they must win. With a home game against a bad team, it’s certainly not unlikely regardless.

Despite that, however, what that 8-8 record will mean is still up in the air.

It certainly doesn’t guarantee a playoff berth. Far from it, in fact. Even though they were pardoned this week with a trio of necessary losses or wins by the Miami Dolphins, Baltimore Ravens, and New York Jets, they still need three results over which they have no control to go their way in order to make good on the recent 5-2 turnaround over the course of the past two months.

In addition to winning their own game next week, the Steelers still require losses from the Dolphins, Ravens, and San Diego Chargers in the final week of the season in order to get back to the postseason.

None of those games could be described as a shoe-in. To begin with, the Dolphins play the Jets in the final week, whom they have already beaten this season, and they do so at home. Though the Dolphins were shut out by the lowly Buffalo Bills and quarterback Ryan Tannehill left the game with a knee injury before returning, don’t count on them laying an egg against the Jets with a playoff berth on the line.

As for the Ravens, they take on the Cincinnati Bengals on the road. The Bengals have already clinched the division, while the Ravens—who have already proven that they can beat the Bengals this season—are scratching and clawing after a beating by the Denver Broncos. The saving grace may be that the Bengals are still jockeying for seeding.

The Chargers, on the other hand, are left to take on their division rivals, the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chargers have already gone to Kansas City and pulled out a victory. Now they need a win at home to make the postseason.

Worst of all? The Chiefs have nothing to play for. With a loss today, a Broncos victory, and a season sweep courtesy of Peyton Manning, the Chiefs enter Week 17 with nothing to play for, having already been locked into the fifth seed. It could very well be the case that everything the Steelers need to happen will work out in their favor except this one.

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About Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.
  • Jake Marion

    Great article that paints a clear picture of how the stars need to align. Just one small detail. The Ravens just lost to the Patriots, not the Broncos.

  • Elijah Stevenson

    Man I wish we could make up for TEN MIA MIN and BAL back because I know we can beat all of them the way we’re playing

  • Callentown

    There can be no worse place in the NFL than JUST missing the playoffs. Your season was for nothing and you will not get a good pick in the draft to assist with the problems that kept you out!! Weak..

  • JAMESH

    Now I wish it were an 18 game season.

  • ATL96STEELER

    You’re right…the worst place to finish is mediocre…but this year, I think there will be several really good options in the middle of the draft.

  • CrazyTerry

    That Miami game is the only game they needed to take back. If they won that, they would have been in the playoffs with a win next week and not worrying about anything else.

  • Betz Smiff

    I think going 6-2 in the final 8 is a big plus…played some decent teams, a lot of young guys have seen playing time. The past few seasons the Steelers have limped to the finish line, this year they can end on a good note and it should bode well going forward…..this is the first time all season I have been optimistic about the near future. Oline is playing much better, Bell looks like the real deal, and the defense has stepped up in a couple games late where they have failed recently.

  • Ahmad

    I was talking about this last night on Twitter about the Chiefs having nothing to play for. You are absolutely right and it worries me deeply. I just hope that pride and the thought of knocking the Chargers out of the playoffs will be enough.

  • Betz Smiff

    I’d take back the two missed chip shots by Suisham in Oakland…..

  • Don

    The chiefs game will be the deal breaker for the Steelers..sad thing is that game is the only afternoon one that matters to the Steelers..All the other games will be in the morning..so, everything could go the way it needs to in the morning only to come up short on the very last game.

  • Callentown

    Who are you liking right now? What positions do you think are most likely?

    As much as I like the idea of a big WR/TE, and I do like that idea a lot, I tend to feel best about our team when our defense is rock effing solid. Ya know..?

  • Douglas Andrews

    Still got my fingers crossed that we can backdoor our way into the playoffs. Guess that’s the Steelers fan in me. I don’t subscribe to the notion of lose to get a better draft pick. What makes the Steelers a good team is unlike some of the lesser ones they don’t have to rely heavily on #1 draft picks to step right in and make an impact. Just use the KC Chiefs or the Bengals for example how long were they irrelevant before some of those draft picks developed? An 8-8 team for a couple of seasons I’ll take that as opposed to a lot of losing seasons with high position #1 draft picks.

  • Ken

    Everyone thinks the chiefs will lay the egg, but even with nothing to play for they are more likely to win than the jets winning at Miami who desperately needs a win.

  • DrakePirate

    I agree with everything said, but i think the big WR/TE is the easiest safest choice to make ! Loving Benjamin, and want to see the better of Amaro and Ebron in the bowl games and workouts/combine

  • DrakePirate

    playing for nothing can go both ways I still think they have at least a 50-50 shot of winning the game against the Bolts

  • Elijah Stevenson

    But yesterday Cincinnati beat Minnesota like it was nothing with AP we couldn’t beaten them easily in week 4 stuff like that irritates me to death

  • ATL96STEELER

    Well…I’m still on the bandwagon for Ebron or Amaro as the TE options…@ WR…Evans & Watkins, 1 could fall into the middle…the further we fall I think Benjamin, from FLA St. starts looking really good.

    DEF…Hageman, DT/DE from MIN was brought up to me on this forum and I started following him. I like what I see as a potential DE in our scheme…either him or Dix the S, the Bama are the only DEF guys that I really like.

  • ATL96STEELER

    Benjamin…me too…I’d be just as happy with him as I would Evans from A&M…Allen Robinson from PSU is right there with Benjamin imo. No reason why Ben should not get a big playmaker from this draft.

  • CrazyTerry

    Steelers fans need to use their freaking tickets they already paid for to attend this game. It’s too bad the steelers can’t revoke the PSLs of those who don’t show u for 2 or more games. If you are going out of town, give them away for whatever price you can get.. There are some good deals on craigslist and other sites. If those prices are still too pricey for you and you are there in driving distance, negotiate hard and you can find tickets for less than half price as the date nears. I still see some ticket sellers in denial about what they think they can get. But I think they will relent as the date approaches.
    Steelers fans who showed up in GB in worse weather show more heart than the fans at home who take the team for granted. This game could mean something. Show up or give those tickets to those who can show up. Let’s recapture the glory of Steeler nation at home.

    I wish I didn’t have relatives visiting me . I live 13 hours away to make a spontaneous day trip. But now that I know how easy it is to get a ticket at home, you bet I am going to plan a trip to Heinz next year instead of giving my money to another team in the south to watch the Steelers.

  • Dan

    In my view every game in week 17 is pretty much 50/50. There’s always a big batch of upsets. So we need specific results from 4 games. That’s a 1 in 16 chance. We’ve already blown any hope of a top ten draft pick, so hopefully we’ll go 8-8 and avoid a losing season. And with some luck we’ll start the playoffs 0-0 next week just like everybody else.

  • Dan

    Indeed. And the organization is less included to make needed changes in the coaching staff when there is “momentum to build on”. We’re finishing the season as a 10-6 quality team that happened to start 0-4. So yes there’s been improvement, but we’re still heading into the off-season with major cap problems….and I don’t personally believe any December momentum carries over to September.

  • CrazyTerry

    Jets beating Miami 40%, KC beating SD 35%, Bengals beating Ravens 70%, Steelers beating Browns 90%. At least those are the Crazy Terry numbers. So overall percentage of Steelers making playoffs= 8%
    Not awful, but let’s knock those dominoes out.

  • Dan

    Actually your numbers would round up to 9% (8.82%) so a little better than my 1 in 16 (6.25%) estimate. :) From a trend standpoint, we were a 1 in 256 chance last week, so if the trend continues we are a sure thing. All to do now is figure if we match up better with Cincy or Indy for wildcard weekend.

  • Busforever

    Yeah, but that’s precisely because we lost those kind of game that it would be a shock to be in the playoffs. All season, we shot ourselves in the foot because we couldn’t take care of the ”little business”. Look at the schedules in our Superbowl seasons: the only difference is that we won those kind of games. You need talent to play in january, but you also need consistency. Our offense wasn’t ready in september (Pouncey and Miller injuries didn’t help), and when we were ready to score, our defense couldn’t protect a lead. We need to be ready from the start and be consistent week in and week out, no matter if we play the Raiders or the Ravens. That’s our main failure since 2 years.

  • CrazyTerry

    heh heh, since the numbers I cited are based only on gut feeling, whats a percent or two here or there. In fact, the consensus odds seem closer to your estimate.

  • Callentown

    I kind of think it will be Nix. And then take whatever the best WR or TE option is there in Rd 2.

    I haven’t heard anything positive or negative on McClendon, but the run D is soft and Nix is a start towards changing that.

  • Callentown

    re-posting here to answer you ALT96:

    I kind of think it will be Nix. And then take whatever the best WR or TE option is there in Rd 2.

    I haven’t heard anything positive or negative on McClendon, but the run D is soft and Nix is a start towards changing that.

  • Steeler Goetz

    5 of the Steelers’ 8 losses have been by 7 points or less. You’re talking about a single play being the difference in each game. That means the Steelers could just as easily be 10-5 right now. If they get in, and plenty of teams have backed in to the play-offs before. Hell, the Giants backed into the play-offs and went on to beat the then-undefeated Patriots in the Superbowl, the Steelers are going to have to go on the road and face the Bengals or Colts. They can certainly win either match-up, and then they’d have to go and face the Broncos. No one thought the Steelers could beat Manning in ’05, but they did. we could be looking at the same thing all over again.

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