When the Pittsburgh Steelers take to the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field on Sunday afternoon to face the Green Bay Packers, their slim playoff hopes may have already been dashed. Unless the Dolphins lose to the Bills and the Jets beat the Browns earlier in the day, the last two games of the season will officially be meaningless. Which is probably for the best because a high draft pick is more important to the Steelers future than a pointless Wild Card game anyway. Not that a playoff game is likely with the improbable set of dominoes which must fall in precise order to get the Black and Gold into the post-season.
I tried explaining the AFC’s playoff scenario earlier this week. I’ll try to sum it up again briefly. Basically, Miami’s head to head victory means the Steelers cannot overtake them. However, the rules for breaking a tie between 3 or more teams state that first you match division foes up with each other and eliminate teams until each division is only represented by one team. Then you start the process over again with the remaining teams. That’s why the Jets must win out – if they end the season tied with Miami (and us), they do us the favor of eliminating them by virtue of a better division record just like we do the Ravens.
Like I said, improbable to say the least. Meanwhile, our Super Bowl XLV opponents, the Packers, are in a far less complicated playoff battle of their own. They need this game every bit as much as we do. Although they’ll be going into the game without their biggest gun.