Simply put, they need to win two of three games and beat the Bengals.
The Steelers currently hold the tiebreaker over the Bengals for the No. 6 seed because they beat them in Week 7. Pittsburgh holds a one-game lead over the "surging" Jets—a team that has won two games in a row and three of its last four.
With three games remaining on the schedule, the Steelers must not fall flat.
The team's first obstacle is a Week 15 road tilt at Dallas on Sunday afternoon, but its most important game of the season is a Week 16 matchup against the Bengals. Losing this game would be like losing one-and-a-half games to the Bengals, and their path to the postseason could be blocked for good with another loss the following weekend.
But a win, now that would be something to build on.
Beating the Bengals could give the Steelers a postseason berth on the spot, but at the very least the Steelers will have a tiebreaker edge at 8-7 with one game left to play—a Week 17 matchup against the Cleveland Browns.
Will the Steelers get into the playoffs in 2012?
The Steelers beat the Jets in Week 2, so they hold the tiebreaker advantage there should the 6-7 Jets win out.
The Steelers will clinch the No. 6 seed in the AFC if they finish 9-7 and beat the Bengals.