We're down to the last five weeks of the regular season, and the Steelers find themselves in a hell of a pickle. A mediocre overall record and a poor divisional record demands a strong finish.CBS Sportsline
has the current playoff standings, and Football Outsiders
has a weekly update of its calculated playoff odds.
I'll use the actual standings, notated with Football Outsiders odds and other notes.AFC 1 Indianapolis (y) South 11-0-0
. Indy becomes the first team to clinch a playoff berth. FO places their odds of being the 1 seed at 98.5%.2 Cincinnati North 8-3-0
. An identical record to San Diego, FO sees the Chargers as the eventual 2 seed and the Bengals as the 3 seed, with a 33.0% chance, and assigns them a 97.1% chance of making the playoffs.3 San Diego West 8-3-0.
Chargers are listed as having a 34.9% chance of taking the 2 seed, and a 92.2% chance of making the playoffs.4 New England East 7-4-0
. FO also agrees that the Patriots look ready to be the weakest division winner by record, and give them a 39.7% chance of taking the 4 seed, and a 93.5% chance of making the playoffs. 5 Denver West 7-4-0.
Denver hangs on to the 5 seed at FO also, with a 29.4% chance of winning the 5, and a 73.3% chance of making the playoffs. 6 Jacksonville South 6-5-0
. Jax isn't getting the love from FO, who have them behind Baltimore and Pittsburgh at the 8 spot, with a 19.4% chance of making the playoffs. Not dead just yet, but little wiggle room.Still alive 7 Baltimore North 6-5-0
. FO has the 6 seed going to Baltimore, at 30.3%, and a 60.7% chance overall of making the cut.8 Pittsburgh North 6-5-0
. On the outside looking in is Pittsburgh, the 7 team according to FO, with a 40.3% chance of making the postseason. 9 Miami East 5-6-0.
FO rank is 9, 10.4% chance of making the dance.10 N.Y. Jets East 5-6-0
. FO rank is 11, 4.4% chance of making it. 11 Tennessee South 5-6-0
. Only 12th according to FO, the comeback kids only have a 1.4% shot.12 Houston South 5-6-0
. The 10 team in FO's list, and a 7.0% shot.13 Buffalo East 4-7-0
. 0.4% chance of making it; not fucking likely.14 Kansas City West 3-8-0
. 0.0% chance; close to the official cut.15 Oakland West 3-8-0
. 0.0% chance; almost out.Eliminated 16 Cleveland North 1-10-0.
Too bad, pukes.NFC 1 New Orleans South 11-0-0
. FO has them at a 74.3% chance of being the 1 seed, and 100.0% chance of making the playoffs.2 Minnesota North 10-1-0
. 65.5% chance of being the 2 seed and 100.0% chance of making it. 3 Dallas East 8-3-0
. Cowboys in the playoffs? FO agrees, 36.2% chance of being the 3 seed and 85.8% chance of making it at all. 4 Arizona West 7-4-0.
FO gives the Cards a 51.8% chance of being the 4, and with their weak division a 91.8% chance of making the post.5 Philadelphia East 7-4-0.
FO flip-flops the Philly and GB order, with Philly the 20.2% chance of making the 6 seed and a 74.1% chance of getting in.6 Green Bay North 7-4-0.
GB has a 53.5% chance of being the 5 seed, and an 86.1% chance of getting in.Still alive 7 N.Y. Giants East 6-5-0.
Giants are also the 7, outside looking in, for FO, with a 16.5% chance of making the 6 seed (not far off Philly's odds), but only a 31.2% chance of making the show. Compare to the AFC 7 seed Pitt, with a 40.3% chance of making it, and you see the NFC has fewer WC contenders with a serious shot.8 Atlanta South 6-5-0
. Also 8 in FO, 15.3% chance of the playoffs.9 San Francisco West 5-6-0
Also 9 in FO, and a 15.3% shot. Note: I made SF the 9 off an identical 15.3% chance of making the post, since Atlanta also had a 15.3% chance of a wildcard spot and SF on a 4.6% chance.10 Carolina South 4-7-0
. 0.3% chance; forget it. 11 Chicago North 4-7-0.
0.1% chance; nope.12 Seattle West 4-7-0
. 0.1% chance; nada.13 Washington East 3-8-0
0.0% -- that's not good.Eliminated 14 Detroit North 2-9-0
15 Tampa Bay South 1-10-0
16 St. Louis West 1-10-0
Too effin bad.
So the AFC WC hunt looks like it has 4 contenders (Balty, Denver, Pitt, Jax) for 2 spots. Miami would need a miracle.
In the NFC, it's really GB, Philly, NYG, and maybe Atlanta for the last 2 spots.