While most of Steeler Nation wants to maintain slight optimism over the prospect of a playoff birth, the realization of the inevitable is about to set in. The most troubling sign of this can be found in Las Vegas where bookies have set the lines for the final week of the NFL season. The latest lines for the weekend have the Patriots getting 8.5 points from Houston, the Bengals getting 10 points from the Jets, the Ravens getting 11 points from the Raiders, and the Broncos getting 13.5 points from the Chiefs. Meanwhile the belief is that the Pittsburgh Steelers are 3 points better than the host Miami Dolphins this Sunday. Even if the latter comes true, the gambling world has given the Steelers little chance to make it into the postseason tournament. The line on the Jets and Bengals game is absolutely enormous and it will be interesting to see what the line would be if the Jets had to go to Cincinnati for the first round of the NFL Playoffs. My thoughts are that the home Bengals would be in the vicinity of an 8 point favorite. I would also point out that if Houston had to make a trip to New England for the first round of the playoffs that they would be a double digit underdog.
I know that one might argue that upsets happen and that the betting lines mean little to nothing. This is true however Vegas is not in the business of losing money and if you don't believe that just try picking 4 games against the spread this weekend. See if you can get ALL FOUR GAMES correct. It's difficult to do because there is a reason for these lines. I know that this article is pessimistic and I would love nothing more than to be proven wrong but I'm just trying to brace myself for what I feel is likely to happen this weekend.
Hopefully our Steelers can win in Miami while New England gets enough out of its starters for an upset victory in Houston. Then we can all go into the final hours of the NFL regular season with hopes that the Steelers will have a chance to defend their title!
HERE WE GO!!