The previous post is embarrassingly full of errors: the Times’ website doesn’t normally have ads in that sidebar position or in a banner under the newspaper’s main logo. Still, as I said in my partial correction in the update to the post, the ad is impressive anyway.
But in the interest of pushing incorrect information down the page, here are what I figure are the Steelers’ four potential playoff-making scenarios. If any of them happen, I’ll celebrate with an Iron City beer and a cool $100 from my sister’s Browns-supporting ex-boyfriend:
- The Steelers win both of their last two games (against the Rams and Ravens)
The Steelers would finish 11-5 and hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Browns, so Pittsburgh would win the AFC North even if Cleveland also finished 11-5.
- The Steelers win one of their last two games AND the Browns lose one of their last two games (against the Bengals or the 49ers)
The Steelers and Browns would both finish 10-6, with the Steelers still holding the tiebreaker, so Pittsburgh would win the AFC North.
- The Steelers beat the Ravens in week 17
The Steelers would be 10-6, at worst, with a conference record of 8-4; the best the Titans can do (even with victories over the Jets and Colts) is finish 10-6 with a 7-5 AFC record, so Pittsburgh would win a Wild Card spot.
- The Titans lose one of their last two games (against the Jets or the Colts)
The Titans’ record would be 9-7, equal to the Steelers’ worst-case outcome. The Steelers would have, at worst, a 7-5 AFC record, versus the Titans’ 6-6, so Pittsburgh would win a Wild Card spot.
I prefer the first scenario.