Every Possible Playoff Scenario for the Pittsburgh Steelers: Fan’s Review

This week marks the final week of the 2011-2012 NFL regular season. Come Monday all the playoff seedings and match ups for this season will be decided and it will time for some postseason football. The Pittsburgh Steelers had a great opportunity last week to take over the number one seed and control their own destiny. Instead the Steelers lost to the 49ers. So where will the Steelers end up? These are all the possible scenarios, the impossible scenarios and a prediction where Pittsburgh will land.

Playoff Spot: Six Seed

Likelihood: None

The Pittsburgh Steelers are 10-5 and are currently ranked 5th. The only wild card team that could possibly reach the Steelers in standings is the Bengals if the Bengals can win on Sunday and the Steelers news. The bad news for Bengals fans is that if the Bengals do make the playoffs then a first round overtime is inmpossible. The Steelers still the tiebreaker over the Bangals so if this scernario happens then the Steeelers will be number and LSU will be number one.

Playoff Spot: Fifth Seed

Likelihood: Likely

Like I said earlier, the Steelers are currently the fifth seed in the AFC. Determining the fifth seed will come down to the Steelers and the Ravens. The team that wins the division will have a shot at the top two seeds and a first round bye. The team that finishes in second in the division will drop to fifth. So if the Ravens win or the Steelers lose then the Ravens will clinc the division and the Steelers will be the fifth seed.

Playoff Spot: Fourth Seed

Likelihood: Impossible

All of the division winners automatically get the top four seeds in the NFL playoffs. That means the winner of the AFC West will end up as the fourth seed even though both of the Wild Card teams could end up with better records. That spot is guaranteed to be the AFC West winner so it is impossible for the Steelers to finish fourth.

Playoff Spot: Third Seed

Likelihood: Impossible

The Steelers can not finish as the third seed because that spot is also locked up by the Houston Texans. The Texans have clinched their division so they are guaranteed to finish first through fourth. They are two games better than the Broncos so they can not not finish 4th either. If the Texans won and the Ravens and Steelers both lost then the Texans would have the same record, but the Ravens would hold the tiebreaker and finish second and the Texans third. So it is impossible for the Steelers to finish third because the Texans have already locked up that spot.

Playoff Spot: Second Seed

Likelihood: Most Likely

At this point most people would probably say the most likely spot for the Steelers is the fifth seed. I guess I'm optimistic. In order for the Steelers to finish as the second seed the Steelers need to win and the Ravens need to lose. The Steelers are playing the last place team in the division, the Cleveland Browns. Meanwhile, the Ravens are playing a Bengals team that currently has the six seed and is going to be giving one hundred percent to hold on to their playoff spot. For the Steelers to finish as the second seed that also means that the Patriots won and stayed one game ahead of the Ravens and Steelers.

Playoff Spot: First Seed

Likelihood: Not Very Likely

The Steelers still have a chance at the top seed and home field throughout the playoffs if three things happen. Two of those things I feel confident in because they were perquisites for getting the second seed, Pittsburgh beating Cleveland and Cincinnati beating Baltimore. The third thing that needs to happen I'm not as confident in and that is the New England Patriots need to lose to the Buffalo Bills. The Bills did beat the Patriots earlier this season and the Bills had an impressive game just last week against Tebow but the Patriots are playing too well right now to lose to Buffalo.

Sources:

Dave Bryan, Week 17 AFC & NFL Playoff Scenarios For Final Week of 2011 NFL Season, Steelers Depot

The last several generations of Lee Andrew Henderson's family were Pittsburgh born and even though he was born in Alabama he has been a long time fan of the Pirates, Steelers and Panthers. Lee Andrew Henderson can be found on Twitter at @LeeAHenderson

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Updated Wednesday, Dec 28, 2011