Thursday, December 21, 2006

So, Just HOW are the Steelers Going to make the Playoffs? UPDATE

Update: December 21, 2006
I stumbled across a terrific page created by hard core Steelers fans that goes in-depth on the Steelers and just WHAT needs to happen for them to make the playoffs.

Original Posting
I'll be honest, I sat down to figure out -- armed with only the current AFC standings, the NFL schedule for the final two weeks of the season, the litany of NFL tie breaker criteria, and several sharp pencils -- just what has to happen for the Steelers to make the playoffs. It wasn't long before my head hurt quite badly, so instead I offer this item from the website of WTAE-TV in Pittsburgh (which was posted prior to Cincinnati's Monday night loss to Indianapolis):

"The Steelers kept their faint playoff hopes alive by crushing the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.
But can the black and gold really make it to the postseason?

Unlike last year, Pittsburgh needs plenty of help from other teams to grab a wild-card playoff spot.

If the season ended Monday afternoon, Cincinnati (8-5) and Jacksonville (8-6) would be the AFC wild cards.

Denver (8-6), the New York Jets (8-6), the Steelers (7-7), Buffalo (7-7) and Tennessee (7-7) are each within striking distance.

The Steelers must win both of their remaining games, and they need Tennessee to beat Buffalo on Sunday.

Pittsburgh also needs the Jets to lose one of their remaining two games.

Denver must lose its final two games because they hold a tiebreaker over the Steelers.

How about the front-runners?

Jacksonville would need to lose both of its games, or Cincinnati would have to drop two of its final three -- and Cincy's only victory can come against Denver next week.

If Cincinnati collapses, Pittsburgh keeps winning, and both teams end the season tied, then that tie would be broken by their records against common opponents
."

Of course we now know that Cincinnati has fallen to 8-6, travel to Denver for a Christmas Eve matchup, and then host the Steelers in the season finale.

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