With the Pittsburgh Steelers sitting at 5-3 and riding into their mid-season mark with a three-game winning streak, it's time to start taking a look at what the odds are for various postseason items. We'll take a look today at five of those.
Here's a look at where I'm placing the odds (in percentages) of home field advantage, playoff seeding, Pro Bowl bids, postseason awards and, of course, a Super Bowl victory.
Taking a look at the current standings, the Pittsburgh Steelers are certainly in the running for one of the conference's top seeds. They are tied with three other teams for the third-best record in the AFC. Two of those teams are division winners.
They trail the Baltimore Ravens by a game and the Houston Texans by two. Baltimore isn't as big a concern given they still face Pittsburgh twice. Houston is the bigger concern at 7-1 and showing no signs of slowing down.
The Steelers will have to continue their strong play and probably win out to have a realistic chance at Houston for the top seed.
Playoff seeding is tricky. There are four teams sitting at 5-3, one at 6-2, two at 4-4 and one at 7-1. That's eight teams at .500 or better at the halfway point. There are six slots. Don't bet against a 3-5 team swinging back into the race too. Anything could happen.
As for the Pittsburgh Steelers, one of the four 5-3 teams, they have an excellent shot at being a second or third seed if they can continue their strong play and winning their division. Given the struggles of the Baltimore Ravens' defense and now, suddenly, their offense, I could see them falling off just enough to put Pittsburgh in the driver's seat.
As for the other 5-3 teams, I would say at least one will have to take the wild card route.
Odds: 55% for second seed
Guessing on the Pro Bowl is a tough because so much of it depends on what fans think and which ones decide to vote. It's like an election campaign without the ads and speeches.
Right now, the Pittsburgh Steelers have one lock for the Pro Bowl in my opinion. They have a couple other deserving players who are starting to draw some notice. How they play down the stretch will dictate whether they make it.
Here's a look at the odds on the Steelers sending their top four players to the Pro Bowl:
Ben Roethlisberger: 99%
Heath Miller: 89%
Ryan Clark: 55%
Mike Wallace: 20%
The reason I currently have Miller below 90% is because I'm still not sure exactly how well-regarded he is around the country. If smart and savvy fans vote, he's going to make it. He is having what I think is the best season of any tight end in the conference and maybe the league right now.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are not big on winning postseason awards. They don't win them often and they place a much higher premium on winning the biggest game of the season anyway. This year, however, they have a couple of potential award winners.
Ben Roethlisberger's unbelievable season has him in some MVP talk and possibly for Offensive Player of the Year. I would also put Heath Miller in the second category. The odds are still long, but they are at least on the short list.
Beyond that, the Steelers do not have a ton of chances in the awards. They have no comeback players or defensive stars. Mike Tomlin likely won't be in the coach of the year conversation.
Ben Roethlisberger, MVP: 65%
Ben Roethlisberger, OPOY: 45%
Heath Miller, OPOY: 50%
Finally, let's talk about the big game. This is where every team wants to have good odds. There are a few teams that I'd say are already clearly out of the running for the Super Bowl barring a phenomenal upheaval.
There are a ton of teams in the running. Here, the Pittsburgh Steelers are stacking against their own conference just to get there and then against the NFC to win the game. It's so hard to predict something like that so far in advance. The playoff races are all over the place in both conferences.
I'd say that if the Steelers are to win the Super Bowl, they need to play their best football from now on and they also need a lot of things to break their way. They still have some decent odds at this point because they've proven their mettle against the New York Giants in what really was a convincing effort.