Pittsburgh Steelers Playoff Scenarios: Mapping Out Steelers' Road To Indy

Cody MeadowsCorrespondent IDecember 31, 2011

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - DECEMBER 19:  Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers in action against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park on December 19, 2011 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers are a couple of weeks away from another trip to the playoffs.

If the playoffs started today, the Steelers would be on the road set to take on the Denver Broncos. The Broncos would have won the abysmal AFC West, and the Steelers would be the No. 5 seed finishing second in the AFC North behind the Baltimore Ravens.

As it stands, the Steelers still have hope to win the AFC North and earn a bye in the playoffs. In fact, things are looking pretty good going into the last week of the season.

The Ravens have to go to Cincinnati and play the Bengals, a place where they have lost five out of their last six games. The Steelers will close the season on the road against the Cleveland Browns. If the Steelers win and the Ravens lose, the Steelers will clinch the AFC North title.

Obviously, the Steelers will have an extremely difficult road to the Super Bowl if they remain the No. 5 seed. This would mean a trip to Denver, Baltimore, and New England. The Steelers are capable of beating any team in the league, but that is a tough stretch of games. What's worse, safety Ryan Clark can't play in Denver because he suffers from sickle cell.

This is especially true if quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is still injured. His ankle was obviously a problem a couple of weeks ago, as he could barely move. Big Ben isn't a pocket passer and it showed, as he threw three interceptions and fumbled once in a 20-3 loss.

His game revolves around his mobility, so an extra week off and a home game would be just what the doctor ordered!

If the Steelers got the No. 2 seed, they would be at home against the highest remaining seed after the wild card games. They would still face the possibility of playing the Patriots in New England, but not until the AFC Championship game.

Either way, Steelers nation travels well. Whether at home in Pittsburgh or on the road, terrible towels will be waving!