Steelers' Rooting Guide for NFL Playoff Implications of Week 17
The Pittsburgh Steelers will know their playoff fate well before kickoff on Sunday night.
Pittsburgh's slim playoff chances rely on the New England Patriots to beat the Miami Dolphins.
Miami comes into Week 17 with a one-game edge in the loss column over Mike Tomlin's team.
New England is in front of the Steelers as well, but they need one result at a time to go in their favor.
The Patriots are one of a few teams the Steelers must root for in order for them to have a shot to stay alive with a win over the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday night.
If everything goes right, the Steelers could have a chance to clinch a playoff berth with some help in Week 18.
Patriots over Dolphins
Pittsburgh's rooting interest is a bit complicated.
The Steelers need the New England Patriots to win and then lose over the next two weeks.
The Miami Dolphins hold a head-to-head tiebreaker over the Steelers, so if Miami wins on Sunday, the Steelers are eliminated.
A New England win would drop Miami down to 8-8 and shift the Patriots' record to 8-8 as well.
The Patriots have a good chance to win the contest because Teddy Bridgewater is starting for the Dolphins in place of the injured Tua Tagovailoa.
Once the Patriots win, the Steelers can shift their rooting interest away from them for Week 18.
Pittsburgh needs to win out and for New England to lose to the Buffalo Bills in Week 18 to avoid losing out on a playoff spot through the head-to-head tiebreaker in favor of the Patriots.
The Steelers also need the Dolphins to lose out for the same tiebreaker situation to be avoided.
Seahawks over Jets
The Steelers did themselves no favors when it came to head-to-head tiebreakers.
Pittsburgh also has a loss to the New York Jets on its resume, which means the Jets have to lose on Sunday to the Seattle Seahawks.
That would put the Jets at 7-9 and one game behind the Steelers if they beat the Ravens.
Pittsburgh needs the Jets to lose in Week 17 because then it needs them to win in Week 18 to drop Miami to nine losses.
Seattle can be trusted because it is in a playoff fight of its own.
Geno Smith and Co. need a win over the Jets to stay alive in the NFC wild-card race.
A Seattle win combined with a New England win would allow the Steelers to be in decent shape in the AFC wild-card race with a win over the Ravens.
They would still need Miami and New England to drop to nine losses in Week 18, but they should be happy to get to that stage first.
Texans over Jaguars
The Jacksonville Jaguars could technically land a wild-card spot if they lose out on the AFC South next week to the Tennessee Titans.
Jacksonville is 7-8 going into its matchup with the Houston Texans.
The Jags have a 6-4 conference record, which is much better than Pittsburgh's 3-7 mark inside the AFC.
Jacksonville would slide ahead of Pittsburgh in the wild-card standings if the two sides finish on the same record because of the conference-record tiebreaker.
A Texans win seems unlikely to root for, but the Steelers have no other threats above them in the wild-card race.
Tennessee already lost on Thursday to drop to nine losses, and the 6-9 Las Vegas Raiders do not seem like a threat with Jarrett Stidham starting at quarterback.
The Steelers need all of these results to go in their favor, and then they must take care of business on the field against the Ravens, who have already clinched a playoff berth but are alive in the AFC North title race.