Steelers’ slim playoff hopes hinge on four- or five-way tie
Posted by Michael David Smith on December 19, 2013, 4:08 PM EST
Fourteen NFL teams currently have losing records. The Steelers are the only one of those teams that has not been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs.
But while the Steelers still have a chance to make the playoffs, those chances rest on the obscure possibility that they end up in a four- or five-way tie with the Ravens, Chargers, Dolphins and Jets, all at 8-8.
If the Steelers win out to finish 8-8 while the Ravens lose out to finish 8-8, the Steelers would be considered the second place team in the AFC North, based on their superior record within the division. The Steelers would also need the Dolphins to lose out and the Jets to win out, which would make both of those teams 8-8, and would make the Jets the second-place team in the AFC East based on a superior division record.
Because the first step of a tiebreaker with more than one teams is to use the divisional tiebreakers to eliminate all but one team from each division, a four-way tiebreaker among the Ravens, Steelers, Dolphins and Jets would turn into a two-way tiebreaker between the Steelers and Jets, which the Steelers would win based on a superior conference record.
The Steelers would also need the Chargers to lose at least one of their two remaining games. If the Chargers lose one game to finish at 8-8, the Steelers would win a tiebreaker with them based on a superior conference record.
Ultimately, the Steelers need to go 2-0 while the Jets go 2-0, the Ravens go 0-2, the Dolphins go 0-2 and the Chargers go either 1-1 or 0-2, and they’re in the playoffs. So I’m telling you there’s a chance.