By winning in convincing fashion against the Cleveland Browns, the Steelers clinched the AFC North and a first round bye in the NFL playoffs. This gives the team an opportunity to rest an extra week before having to take the field. This is a welcome week off for the Steelers.
Several Steelers are battling injuries. Aaron Smith is trying to return from a torn triceps muscle that nearly ended his season. However, the Steelers did not place him on the injured reserve list in hopes that he could return during the playoffs. Troy Polamalu has been nursing a painful Achilles' tendon that forced him to miss two games. Ben Roethlisberger has a broken nose and a foot injury that has hampered him.
While the bye week is just what the doctor ordered for the Pittsburgh Steelers, it can be an anxious time for their fans. There are some important questions on the mind of Steelers fans this week.
Who will the Pittsburgh Steelers face?
As the second seed in the playoffs, the Steelers will play the highest remaining seed after the Wild Card round has been played. This means the Steelers definitely will not play the sixth seed New York Jets.
That leaves potential matchups against the Baltimore Ravens, Kansas City Chiefs, or Indianapolis Colts.
Of these three potential opponents, which team will provide the most favorable matchup for the Pittsburgh Steelers?
The following slides will discuss the two Wild Card matchups in the AFC and the possible implications for the Steelers.