Rooting Interests: Week 13

Undress works just as well as Unleash, Hun.
3 weeks, 3 losses.

On the outside, looking in.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have gone from AFC challenger to playoff challenged. When I began tracking the other AFC games three weeks ago I had no reason to believe that we'd fall below the demarcation of a playoff spot, come December. The thought was WHERE we'd end up in the playoff mix, not IF.

But here we are. Technically, in need of help. Although, if the Steelers do "Unleash Hell" as coach Tomlin posed, I'd imagine we'd be in as a Wild Card.

Let's just see what we have (Once again, team to root for in BOLD and arbitrary "Importance" as determined by me):

Jets @ BILLS
Importance: 10%

The Jets aren't stealing our playoff spot. Just not happening. But, much like the Jaguars they can go on a small tear and go from 4-6 a week ago to 8-6 as they took out the Panthers and face the Bucs and potentially Turner/Ryan-less Falcons after this game. I like the idea of watching this game (which is being played in Toronto) and having some La Fin du Monde for added flava. I dated a chick from Canada - the beer was the best part. But I'll cheap out and buy the Labatt case with free Pens' Championship t-shirt in it.

LIONS @ Bengals
Importance: 25%

Catching the Bungles is the least of our worries, right now. But it's in our blood to root agasint them. Standard Operating Procedure here. Go Lions.

Titans @ COLTS
Importance: 20%

Brace yourself for the collective media story-gasm if the Titans pull this one out. With St. Louis and Miami on their schedule next, they'll be the hottest story not invovling The Saints. I know many wish to root against "The Undefeateds" but it's not like we're the Dolphins, clinging to their '72 season. If you're worried about our franchise's identity go check out the Lombardis in The Great Hall. Besides, we've been down this road with the 2007 Pats, worry about teams' records when they get to the playoffs, not before.

Broncos @ CHIEFS
Importance: 30%

The Broncos' win over The Giants last week puts them in as the better of the two Wild Cards. A loss at Arrowhead could definitely occur and would throw a large wrench in their chances of making the playoffs. A win and I'd say they're all but in as Oakland and KC at home remain on their schedule along with winnable games versus Philly and Indy. It may not be a sexy game to watch, but the right outcome would be a big help for The Steelers.

Patriots @ Dolphins
Importance: 20%

The Patriots are winning the AFC East. Even if they limp in, I simply cannot envision the Dolphins or Jets catching up in time. That being said, I like the idea of them in complete dissaray and a log-jam of marginal 6-6 teams. Belichek will likely having these guys chewing glass or whatever diet of motivational/cheating tactics he espouses leading up to this game. Hey, the Wild Cat took them down last year, right?

TEXANS @ Jaguars
Importance: 20%

A true Steel Cage Match. Loser is likely out of the playoff hunt. The Texans certainly have an easier remaining schedule, so one might think it makes more sense to root for the Jags. But trying to predict the outcome of games from week to week has lost me hundreds of dollars this year, so I'll just take one less team to worry about now, thanks.

Chargers @ BROWNS
Importance: 10%

Only one AFC afternoon game, Sunday and boy is it a shitty one. If the Browns get a number of turnovers, a Josh Cribbs return TD and a few lucky breaks with San Diego injuries they MIGHT lose by only 14 or so.

Ravens @ PACKERS
Importance: 45%

Only game that is a must watch other than ours. The Ravens' schedule has them looking like a 10 win team even with a loss to us. Unless they lose this game. Going in to Lambeau is quite a difficult task and luckily The Pack come here. It's one of the few schedulling advantages between us and Baltimore at this point.

As I see it for the remaning games, we go undeafeated and are likely in. One loss (except to the Ravens) and we'd still have a decent chance. Anything less than that and it's the offseason.


Anonymous said...

Dixie, you might want to use this as a helpful guide when you do these:


The Broncos game is surprisingly huge; a Browns win would have the largest positive effect on our chances vs any other game. A Ravens win would have the largest negative result to our chances.

Anonymous said...

Whoops, that should be Chiefs win over the Broncos, not Browns.

Dixie Normess said...

Interesting link. Steelers at 46% to make the playoffs right now seems a bit low, considering the opponents of some of the other Wild Card teams out there and their respective issues (injuries, morale, etc.) but I'll include the raw data next week and going forward. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

No problem, love the site.