Personally, I’m not sold it can happen simply because of injuries and inconsistency on both sides of the ball but the schedule really couldn’t be getting any better for the black ‘n gold if you think about it.
Should the Steelers lose at home to Detroit, something they haven’t done since the 1950’s by the way, then what I’m about to suggest won’t matter. At 3-7, the season would be essentially over.
Let us suggest however that the Steelers defeat the Lions on Sunday and move to 4-6 on the season. The remaining schedule is far less daunting than it looked a couple of months ago and here’s why.
Following this Sunday’s game, the Steelers will travel to Cleveland. This will more than likely be a tough game but it’s also extremely winnable.
On a short week, the Steelers will play in Baltimore on Thanksgiving night. They won there last year behind Charlie Batch and have already defeated the Ravens in 2013. A winnable game? Absolutely.
Because of the Thursday night game, they’ll get a nice rest before hosting Miami at home. This Dolphins’ team has already proven itself to be in disarray after losing to Tampa Bay on Monday. The hangover of the Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin situation will have only gotten worse by the time Miami comes to Pittsburgh.
If the Dolphins are out of it by then, don’t look for Mike Wallace to go out of his way to make too many plays either.
Current division leader Cincinnati comes in the following week for a Sunday night game. At this point, who knows what the Bengals’ state of affairs will look like? They have now lost two straight and are gripping the wheel a little tighter than they were three weeks ago.
The second to last game of the 2013 season is a road trip to Lambeau Field. While I believe this could still be the most difficult of the final seven games, that will all depend on who is under center for the Packers. If Aaron Rodgers is still dealing with his broken collarbone then this game becomes an instant toss-up. Otherwise, Green Bay will be favored.
The final game is once again at home and the Browns are the opponent. To suggest this would be anything but a winnable game would be reckless. If the Steelers are in position and if they’ve gotten the proper help from other teams in the league, then Cleveland would love nothing better than knocking the Steelers out so this game becomes bigger than one might think.
Obviously this is all a lot of hope and guesswork but the stars could be aligning for this team. Either that or I’ll be talking about draft positioning a week from now but such is life in the NFL.
Marc Uhlmann writes for and co-owns www.steelcityblitz.com. Follow him on Twitter @steeldad and follow the website at @SCBlitz. He can be heard Mondays on Trib-Live Radio at 630pm ET talking Steelers and is a blogger for ESPN 970 in Pittsburgh.