2017 South Side Questions: More Confident In 1st-Round Bye?

The journey toward the Super Bowl is now well under way with the Pittsburgh Steelers back practicing at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, still informally referred to as the ‘South Side’ facility. With the regular season standing in their way on the path to a Lombardi, there will be questions for them to answer along the way.

We have asked and answered a lot of questions during the preseason and through training camp, but much of the answer-seeking ends in the regular season, and teams simply have to make do with what they have available to them. Still, there will always be questions for us.

You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the regular season and beyond as they develop, looking for the answers as we evaluate the makeup of the Steelers on their way back to the Super Bowl, after reaching the AFC Championship game last season for the first time in more than half a decade.

Question: Do you feel more confident that the Steelers will get a first-round bye or homefield advantage in the playoffs?

With the news earlier this week that the Houston Texans have lost their rookie starting quarterback Deshaun Watson, to a torn ACL, the Steelers are looking ahead to a schedule that is not exactly the most imposing that they could possible encounter, following the ravages of injuries at the quarterback position.

Over the course of their final eight games, the Steelers will be facing at least three backup quarterbacks, and at least one that might as well be a backup, that being whichever quarterback the Cleveland Browns will be starting at that point.

With Watson out for the year, Aaron Rodgers for the Green Bay Packers also on injured reserve, and the Indianapolis Colts—their next opponent—officially shutting down Andrew Luck—the Steelers will instead likely get Jacoby Brissett, Brett Hundley, and Tom Savage in their places.

They also have games remaining with their division rivals, including home games against Joe Flacco and [insert Browns quarterback] and a trip to Cincinnati to play Andy Dalton. The only other remaining quarterbacks are Marcus Mariota…and Tom Brady.

This is shaping up to be a very favorable schedule for the Steelers that on paper should really yield no worse than another 6-2 record. And the Steelers have gone at least 6-2 in the second half of the season for the past four years.

Could we really be looking at a bye week in the playoffs for the Steelers? It’s almost hard to imagine at the moment. The last time that the Steelers had a bye week was in 2010, when they were able to reach the Super Bowl, defeated by a quarterback who is no longer healthy this season.

In order to get homefield advantage, they still need to do better than the Patriots and the Chiefs, as they all currently share a 6-2 record. They have already beaten Kansas City, but they still have the Patriots to play.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

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

  • Steel-on-Target

    Things certainly seem to be breaking the Steelers way for a 1st round bye. That said, I won’t be counting my chickens early. This team has a knack for playing great against better competition, then laying eggs against lesser opponents. Hang on for a wild ride 🙂

  • Sam Clonch

    Should come down to the Pats game, just like we said it would when the schedule came out.

  • ryan72384

    I stand by what I said at the beginning of the year. If we get home field advantage AND Bell stays healthy we are going to the Super Bowl. Nobody will stop us. New England isn’t the juggernaut this year and I think we would destroy KC in Pittsburgh. I’d be more worried about a team like Buffalo giving us a game. If we don’t get home field we will lose in New England or KC. I don’t think we can win in Foxboro and I believe our luck in KC would eventually run out. That’s why the Jags game really hurts. I can see the slip up in Chicago because that’s normal for this team but getting throttled at home was surprising. Sitting at 7-1 a game up on KC and the Pats would be nice. I always feel you need to go 8-0 at home so you can withstand a 4-4 road record and finish at worst 12-4 but 13-3 is usually required for home field in the playoffs so we can only take one more loss in my opinion. The 3 questionable games are Cincy Balt and New England. Have to win 2 out of those 3 at least and then win every other game on the schedule. At Houston was going to be scary if Watson was healthy but we caught a huge break there but it still won’t be a cakewalk. We have to go no worse than 7-1 the second half.

  • will

    Great analysis! I totally agree.

  • Jaybird

    I said 13-3 AFTER the Jags loss and I’m sticking with that. Home field throughout Baby!

  • Phil Brenneman II

    Truthfully I don’t care about getting a bye, homefield is the important part for the Steelers. Ben hasn’t been great this season and the past few years far less great on the road and we ain’t making no Superbowl on the road.

  • ImMikeD

    KC doesn’t have a particularly tough road to hoe with their schedule with exception of Dallas this week (who here thought we’d be talking about them rather than the Raiders?), but NE has 5 of their last 8 games on the road. That includes trips to Denver and Mexico City. Then when they come to Pitt, they’ll be on their 3rd road game in 3 weeks. 2 remaining games with Buffalo, who always seems to take one from the Patsies. Pitt has 5 of 8 home games and only travel to Houston, Cinci and Indie. With the backup QB’s that they are facing, I see no reason why they don’t go 7-1 (loss to Bal or Cinci) and we start resting players after the Steelers whoop up on the Patsies. The early win in against KC is the tie breaker for home field throughout

  • Sam Clonch

    It’s kind of a package deal! Home field= #1 seeding = bye week

  • dany

    Anything less than a bye is a disappointment at this point. Home field? Well they can do without I suppose

    As long as someone beats the pats in the playoffs the can win anywhere really

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    Lets best the Colts first.

  • pittfan

    +1,000

  • pittfan

    #1 seed has been my expectation all season long. I’m sticking to it. Watson’s injury is tragic for him and his team but weren’t they 3-4 at the time? The Rogers injury is by far the biggest impact on expectations though we still could have beaten the Cheeseheads.
    We are going to put a big fat juicy L on the Cheatriots and go 7-1(at worst), giving us the tie breaker over them and KC.
    Book it!

  • Phil Brenneman II

    True enough. Just wanted to point out that homefield is really the only important part for us I guess.

  • NinjaMountie

    Well, we have to lose to the Patriots in the regular season. Actually, I want to lose to them. Why am I crazy? Well, it’s because I do think we are capable of beating the Patriots. I just don’t think we’re capable of doing it two times in a season. So, just in case, I’ll save my “one time” for the playoffs. Silly, I know.
    So, I think dropping one more game is a certainty. 6-2 sounds right. It will be tight on whether it gets us a bye.

  • Alan Tman

    With all these favorable events we have to have the number one seed and hopefully the evil empire plays the Chiefs in Kansas City. This is shaping up well. I’m looking for big things from this offense. Hopefully we can cruise through with no major injuries and problems.

  • Rocksolid20

    My thoughts exactly !

  • #beatthepats

    Favorable schedule, only 3 road games, fewest traveled miles in the league,some cold weather and(knock on wood ) good health, could keep us out of that shithole in Boston.

  • LucasY59

    Steelers pretty much control their own destiny (which in some ways is always the case) but for the rest of the season they are in the spot where if they win they are #1, they could possibly lose a game or two as long as they win the important ones like the game against NE and maybe a game against the ratbirds if the AFC north isnt theirs to walk away with

    I am confident they can win that #1 seed and IMO they will need the home field advantage if the want to get to the Super Bowl