I get the frustration, believe me, I get it. But, let's back off the ledge a 'lil bit. This team still has a top 5 or 6 franchise QB; a damn good defense, Week 10 results be damned; and some playmakers on both sides of the ball that are going to have to step up.
There are no layups from here on out, but this team is still capable of beating anyone on any given night. And, considering the parity in the NFL, most teams are in the same boat.
That is all true AJ, but I can also see the argument that someone could make where we lose the next 4-5 (or even all but one of the rest).
Just to play devil's advocate, here is what I came up with:
11.21 v. Oakland - Why not? They're only one sack behind the best 2 teams in the league in sacks and have been much improved this season compared with last season. The sacks are something that we've been screaming about for years and no actions have been taken to address the problem. We just keep having injuries and the problem just gets worse and worse. Why shouldn't we expect them to be all over Ben in this game? Also, yes, Oakland is a run first team, but they can also throw it when they need to and they can score big points this season too. They are 7th in the league in scoring offense.
11.28 @ Buffalo - Buffalo has been pretty much a pass happy team ever since Fitzpatrick took over (last game excepted) and there is little doubt that we have trouble stopping the pass (as New England proved). If Fitzpatrick is hot and Lee Mays has no trouble with our CBs (why would he), then I could see them winning this game. It's more of a matchup problem rather than a question of who is the better team. Also, they do not have a bad passing defense (7th in the league) even though they are dead last in stopping the run. I can see us shutting down Mendenhall early and throwing the ball 50 times in this game. It could easily be dropped even though it shouldn't under any circumstances.
12.5 @ Baltimore - Both the offense and defense scare me in this game and this is one of the best teams in the league. Ben might actually leave the game on a stretcher. We always have trouble covering Ray Rice as a receiver, so even if they can't run they should still be able to move the ball. Plus with the injuries on the DLine, they may be able to run the ball better than usual too.
12.12 v. Cincinnati - Another pass first offense that if Palmer is hot, could give us fits on defense. They do not have much of a defense, but they are ranked higher than NE against the Pass and Run and we couldn't do anything against NE until it was too late.
12.19 v. New York - This matchup is actually the best one we face since they are a much better rushing team than they are passing, but they have some weapons through the air in Holmes, Edwards, Cotchery, Keller, and Tomlinson (leading their team). Who can cover all of these people if they decide to play the matchup and just sling it around like New England did? They also have a good defense who can shutdown the run and a CB capable of shutting down our deep threat completely. On the season, they have more sacks than NE did, which does not give me a warm fuzzy that the OLine will be able to protect Ben at all.
12.23 v. Carolina - I can not see any way that we lose this game. And I tried to come up with something.
1.2 @ Cleveland - Cleveland has played some of the best teams in the league in some very close games. Most of the time they have come up a little short, but they're bound to get lucky sometime. Plus, it could very well be that if the Steelers win this game, they go to the playoffs and if not, they go home. Believe me, Cleveland would want to play spoiler. On defense, we do match up pretty well though as this is another run first team. They do have a good young arm and if he can do enough to make us back up to start playing pass more, then the running game and PA could give us fits.
I think 11-5 gets us in the playoffs (where we will be trounced by the Pats again probably), but at 10-6 I believe that we'll need help from other teams to get in. I actually expect us to go 5-2 or at worst 4-3 to finish out the season at 11-5 or 10-6, but I could see someone being able to come up with an argument for why we will lose any game except the Panthers from here on out.
Here's how I would rank the remaining games in terms of probability of a Steelers loss (from the highest probability to the least obviously):