Steeler’s Playoff Image: Pittsburgh Seeding State of affairs Breakdown in NFL Bracket

The Steelers can improve their playoff seeding in week 17 but will have to do so without Ben Roethlisberger.

Pittsburgh (12-3) coach Mike Tomlin announced on Tuesday that Roethlisberger would be resting on Sunday in favor of backup quarterback Mason Rudolph. The Steelers play the Browns a week after Pittsburgh won the AFC North Division title. The Steelers entered the day as number 3 in the AFC. The best Pittsburgh can do is get up to # 2, and it can’t fall below # 3.

Tomlin suggested that most players would get their usual workload, but that Roethlisberger would be “airmailed” into the playoffs. It’s also a huge game for Cleveland, which can secure its first postseason spot since 2002 with one win.

For example, Pittsburgh can end up as either number 2 or number 3 in the AFC based on week 17 results.

MORE: NFL playoff clinch scenarios for each team on week 17

How Steelers can get number 2 in AFC

The Steelers can only be number 2 in the AFC in one scenario: The Bills (12-3) lose and the Steelers win. Buffalo takes on Miami and starts number 2 in the AFC on Sunday with a record equal to that of Pittsburgh. The Bills hold the tiebreaker after beating the Steelers earlier this season.

To end up ahead of Buffalo, Pittsburgh would need a better result than the Bills (which technically would include a Buffalo tie). The Steelers, who finish at 13-3 while the Bills finish at 12-4, would give Pittsburgh the number 2.

The number 2 would bring the Steelers two home playoff games (assuming they win in the first round). It’s been a first-round goodbye for the past few years, but expanding the playoffs to seven teams from each conference means only the Chiefs will get an AFC top-seed goodbye this year.

How Steelers can get number 3 in AFC

This can be done in two ways. The first is a Steelers loss. No matter what Buffalo does, if Pittsburgh loses, it will not beat the Bills in winnings, so Buffalo would hold onto position # 2. A loss wouldn’t put the Steelers below 3rd, as no other AFC team can match the 12-win mark that the top three AFC teams already have.

The Steelers will also be number 3 in the AFC if Buffalo wins. Even if Pittsburgh wins too, it will lose the tiebreaker against the Bills as both finish with 13-3 records. And if both teams were tied, that would also lead to the No. 2 Bills and No. 3 Steelers.

Comments are closed.