The Pittsburgh Steelers still have a shot at making the playoffs, and the path becomes much more easier if these three things happen this weekend.
The Pittsburgh Steelers had themselves quite the Week 15. They pulled off a huge 19-13 victory over the Tennessee Titans thanks to a monstrous performance by their defense. With that win, and the Cleveland Browns’ loss to the Las Vegas Raiders, they now sit in third-place in the AFC North.
Pittsburgh’s playoff hopes are still alive, albeit a bit slim. But those odds can get even better if these three things happen on Christmas weekend.
3. Ravens continue to slide
The Baltimore Ravens have not had the best of luck ever since playing the Steelers in Week 13.
Baltimore lost 20-19 to Pittsburgh following a failed two-point conversion attempt at the end of the contest. In Week 14, they lost to the Browns 24-22 in a game that star quarterback Lamar Jackson was carted off the field with an ankle sprain. Then, this past week, the Ravens fell 31-30 to the Green Bay Packers after yet another failed two-point conversion attempt ended a solid comeback bid by backup quarterback Tyler Huntley.
This weekend, the Ravens are looking to end their three-game losing streak with a win over the Cincinnati Bengals, who are tied with them for first-place in the division. The Steelers will be actively rooting for the Bengals to get the win to send the Ravens further outside of the playoff picture.
2. Packers beat the Browns
The Browns were oh so close to taking first-place in the division with a win over the Raiders. Even though they were shorthanded due to a COVID-19 outbreak, Cleveland nearly pulled off the victory thanks to a late touchdown pass by quarterback Nick Mullens. However, the Raiders offense marched down the field and set up a game-winning field goal by Daniel Carlson, officially sending the Browns to last place in the AFC North.
On Christmas Day, the Browns are set to play the Green Bay Packers, who recently clinched the NFC North championship with their win over the Ravens. Cleveland activated five players off the reserve/COVID-19 list on Friday, including starting quarterback Baker Mayfield.
Pittsburgh will need Green Bay to pull out the win to further help their chances of climbing up the conference standings. The Packers will not be taking it easy, as they can clinch the top seed in the NFC if they win out the rest of the season.
1. Big Ben musters the magic to beat the Chiefs
Perhaps the most important thing the Steelers need to do this weekend, is win. That will not necessarily be an easy task, as they face off against the top seed in the conference in the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Chiefs may be shorthanded, considering they are dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak of their own, sending the likes of tight end Travis Kelce and wide receiver Tyreek Hill to the reserve list. We should get a better picture of if those two players in particular will be activated for the game. Regardless, the Chiefs are red-hot entering Week 16, holding a seven-game winning streak.
For the Steelers to win, they will need Ben Roethlisberger to duel it out with Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Roethlisberger did put up solid numbers back in Week 14 against the Minnesota Vikings (308 passing yards, three touchdowns, one interception). He will need to replicate that showing on Sunday to give the Steelers a shot of earning their eight-win of the season.