The Steelers arrive at the bye week with a 4-1 lead and a three-game lead on the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC North.
It’s about as good as anyone could have wished for, especialy considering all the injuries they’ve had to deal with.
Still, the Steelers have a very demanding schedule with eight of their 11 games remaining coming against legitimate playoff contenders.
But it figures that 10 games should be enough to win the AFC North so the Steelers only have to go 6-5 the rest of the way to make the playoffs.
Figuring that the Steelers can beat the winless Bengals twice and the Browns at home, that means the Steelers have to win 3 of those 8 games against legitimate playoff contenders to win 10 games.
So, of those 8 games, the games against the teams from the NFC North, Giants, 5-0; Redskins 4-2; and Cowboys , 4-2; will probably be the toughest. Luckily for the Steelers they have the Giants and Cowboys at home while they have to travel to Washington for a game with the surprising Redskins.
Then, they have two tough games on the road against the Ravens (2-3) and Titans (5-0). Unfortunately they will come back to back in games 14 and 15. Perhaps the Titans will have come back to earth by then but it still figures to be a tough game.
But the Steelers could lose all five of the those games if they win their other three games against the Chargers, 3-2; Colts, 3-2; and Patriots, 3-2. At the beginning of the season that would have seemed unthinkable, but all they three teams have struggled so far. And they play the Chargers and Colts at home. They have to play the Patriots on the road but with no Tom Brady, you have to think this could be the year we come away with a big win there.
So, it looks to be a formidable schedule but one that’s not impossible. And if the Steelers can make the playoffs, who knows what can happen. All Steeler fans remember 2005 when we made the playoffs as a wild card team and went on to win the Super Bowl.