With the Pittsburgh Steelers playing on the road at Lambeau Field this coming Sunday against the Green Bay Packers, the game won't kickoff until 4:25 PM EST. By that time, they very well could be mathematically eliminated from the playoffs if things don't go their way in the early games.
The Miami Dolphins and the New York Jets are both playing at 1:00 PM EST and if the Dolphins beat the Buffalo Bills or the Jets lose to the Cleveland Browns, the Steelers will officially be eliminated from playoff contention.
While the Steelers might not have anything to play for other than pride by the time the game gets underway, the Packers playoff hopes will still be very much alive. You can bet that quarterback Aaron Rodgers will make his return to the field on Sunday in addition. Rodgers suffered a fractured collarbone way back in Week 9 against the Chicago Bears and has been sidelined ever since.
Regardless of what happens in the early games, the Steelers will play the game as if their season depends on them winning. The last time these two teams met in the regular season was in Week 15 of the 2009 season and they combined to put up 73 total points and 1,011 yards of offense with the Steelers winning on the final play of the game. The Packers of course advenged the loss a little more than a year later in Super Bowl XLV.
While there is no guarantee we will see a game as compelling as the one in 2009, it figures to be a good one nonetheless. Should things wind up going the Steelers way in the early games, it could wind up being a game where the loser is done for the season.