The Pittsburgh Steelers need to get it together to catch the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC race.
The Kansas City Chiefs improved to 13-1 on the season by outlasting the New Orleans Saints in the Superdome. Waiting to play on Monday Night Football are the 11-2 Pittsburgh Steelers, as they will travel to the Queen City to take on the toothless Cincinnati Bengals in primetime.
After being the last undefeated team in the NFL, the Steelers have lost their last two games. Though they have clinched a playoff berth already in the AFC, they are running out of time to take back control of the conference from Kansas City. If the season were to end today, the AFC playoffs would run through Arrowhead, and that is a bad thing for the suddenly struggling Steelers.
What do the Steelers have to do to get the No. 1 seed in the AFC?
Pittsburgh is going to have to likely win out to get to 14-2 and hope the Chiefs fall to pieces in their final two games to stumble to 13-3. The Steelers should beat the Bengals on the road Monday night, but their Week 16 and 17 games are against playoff teams in the Indianapolis Colts and the Cleveland Browns. Those are considerably tougher games than the Chiefs have to play.
Kansas City has the Atlanta Falcons and the Los Angeles Chargers remaining on their schedule. These are two of the worst teams in their respective conferences. Unless the Chiefs already have the No. 1 seed locked up heading into Week 17, there is no way they finish any worse than 14-2, assuming they mail it in vs. the division rival Bolts. Then it would come down to the tiebreaker.
Since the Steelers and Chiefs have not played this season, it would come down to win-loss record in conference play. So if the Steelers were to win out and the Chiefs somehow dropped a game, Pittsburgh would have the No. 1 seed if that Kansas City loss came to the Chargers. This is because the Chiefs will have gone 10-2 in AFC play, while the Steelers would have gone 11-1.
If the Chiefs lost next week to the Falcons, then it would go to win-loss record among common games. You do not want to leave this thing to chance it if comes to that if you are the Steelers. What does this mean for the Steelers’ chances to get the No. 1 seed? Not great, so Steeler Nation must prepare to play on Wild Card Weekend, while the AFC favorite Chiefs will be on a bye week.
Dropping consecutive games to Washington and Buffalo hurts the Steelers shot at the No. 1 seed.