PITTSBURGH — This article originally appeared on steelersnow.com.
After two straight losses, the Steelers are out of the playoff field. That’s hard to fathom when they were in the driver’s seat for the fifth seed last Saturday, but with Thursday’s loss to the Patriots, they officially fell to the eighth seed. That allowed the Texans, Colts, and Browns to all squiggle up the board one spot, while the Buffalo Bills, Denver Broncos, and Cincinnati Bengals enjoyed the help, too.
The divisional tiebreaker over the Browns kept the Steelers ahead of Cleveland and they have a better conference record than the Colts, so the tiebreakers were in their favor.
The Steelers are at the bottom of that pile, a half-game behind Cleveland, Indianapolis and Houston. The Steelers will need to root for help over the weekend when the Colts visit the Cincinnati Bengals, the Browns host the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Texans visit the New York Jets.
In that scrap heap, it’s a tough balance to hit. For one, neither the Colts nor the Bengals winning helps Pittsburgh that much. But Cincinnati can not overtake them. If the Colts lose, their conference record will drop, and Pittsburgh will leapfrog them. The same goes for the Browns and Texans. If all three teams lose, Pittsburgh will jump them in the rankings.
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