Steelers' Rooting Guide for NFL Playoff Implications of Week 17

Joe TanseyDecember 31, 2022

Steelers' Rooting Guide for NFL Playoff Implications of Week 17

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    PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 24: Pittsburgh Steelers safety Elijah Riley (37) looks on during the national football league game between the Las Vegas Raiders and the Pittsburgh Steelers on December 24, 2022 at Acrisure Stadium in Pittsburgh, PA. (Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
    Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    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

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    FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - DECEMBER 24: Jakobi Meyers #16 of the New England Patriots awaits the snap during the second half against the Cincinnati Bengals at Gillette Stadium on December 24, 2022 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Nick Grace/Getty Images)
    Nick Grace/Getty Images

    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

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    KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 24: Kenneth Walker III #9 of the Seattle Seahawks runs past George Karlaftis #56 of the Kansas City Chiefs during the second quarter at Arrowhead Stadium on December 24, 2022 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images)
    David Eulitt/Getty Images

    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

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    NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - DECEMBER 24:  Rex Burkhead #28 of the Houston Texans warms up before a game against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium on December 24, 2022 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Texans defeated the Titans 19-14. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
    Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

    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.

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