NFL Power Rankings: Pittsburgh Steelers and Teams That Will Limp into Playoffs

Zach KruseSenior Analyst INovember 19, 2012

NFL Power Rankings: Pittsburgh Steelers and Teams That Will Limp into Playoffs

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    The Pittsburgh Steelers may not have fallen far down our NFL power rankings, but they may be one of several teams that have to limp their way into the playoffs down the stretch.

    Without quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and a number of key contributors, the Steelers lost to the Baltimore Ravens Sunday night and fell two games back in the AFC North. At 6-4, however, Pittsburgh is still slotted in as one of the AFC's wild-card teams. 

    In the following slides, we'll give you our power rankings and the teams that may have to limp into the playoffs in 2012. 

Power Rankings 16-32

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    32. Kansas City Chiefs (1-9)

    31. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-9)

    30. Carolina Panthers (2-8)

    29. Cleveland Browns (2-8)

    28. Oakland Raiders (3-7)

    27. Philadelphia Eagles (3-7)

    26. St. Louis Rams (3-6-1)

    25. Arizona Cardinals (4-6)

    24. Miami Dolphins (4-6)

    23. Tennessee Titans (4-6)

    22. Buffalo Bills (4-6)

    21. New York Jets (4-6)

    20. Detroit Lions (4-6)

    19. San Diego Chargers (4-6)

    18. Washington Redskins (4-6)

    17. Cincinnati Bengals (5-5)

    16. Dallas Cowboys (5-5)

Power Rankings 1-15

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    15. Minnesota Vikings (6-4)

    14. Indianapolis Colts (6-4)

    13. New Orleans Saints (5-5)

    12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-4)

    11. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-4)

    10. Seattle Seahawks (6-4)

    9. New York Giants (6-4)

    8. Chicago Bears (7-2)*

    7. Green Bay Packers (7-3)

    6. Denver Broncos (7-3)

    5. San Francisco 49ers (6-2-1)*

    4. New England Patriots (7-3)

    3. Baltimore Ravens (8-2)

    2. Atlanta Falcons (9-1)

    1. Houston Texans (9-1)

    *Play Monday night

11. Pittsburgh Steelers

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    The Steelers lost out on a golden opportunity to take hold in the AFC North Sunday night, and now this team will likely have to claw its way into the playoffs via the wild card. The Ravens hold a commanding two-game lead (plus the head-to-head tie breaker) with six games left. 

    Pittsburgh is still in good shape, however. The Steelers are one of three teams (6-4 Indianapolis, 5-5 Cincinnati) that have the best shot at filling the two wild-card spots. If Pittsburgh can weather the storm while Roethlisberger is out, the Steelers should be able to win the nine games that will likely be necessary to fill one of the two wild-card positions in the AFC.

14. Indianapolis Colts

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    No one expected the Indianapolis Colts to go into New England and win, but the kind of drubbing they took can shake the confidence of a young football team. Still, at 6-4 and with a better conference record than the Steelers, the Colts can continue feeling confident that a playoff spot is well within their grasp. 

    In fact, the Colts should have four winnable games—Buffalo, Tennessee, Detroit and Kansas City—down the stretch. If they can go 3-1 in those games, or steal one game in two from the Texans, Indianapolis should all but guarantee a playoff spot. 

    It might not be pretty over the final six games, and the 59-24 loss Sunday takes some of the shine off their inspirational season, but the Colts are still a front-runner in the AFC wild-card hunt. 

9. New York Giants

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    The Giants looked like a sure bet to make the postseason a month ago. At 6-2, with both the Cowboys and Eagles self-destructing, New York was nearing a lock. 

    Things have tightened considerably since then. 

    The Giants have lost two straight games, while the Cowboys are now 5-5 and nipping at New York's heels. The final six games aren't exactly a cakewalk for the Giants, either. 

    New York faces Green Bay Sunday night, three road games (Washington, Atlanta, Baltimore) and the surging New Orleans Saints before finishing against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 17. The Cowboys have a considerably easier schedule, making that one-game lead feel very vulnerable.