With the rite of passage known as the “Bye Week” upon us, Steelers’ fans are left in a state of shock over how to spend those three plus hours they normally invest into watching their team play. I gave you a few suggestions in an article yesterday but if you’re like me and can’t turn off even bad football (is there such a thing?) then here are some games of note you’ll want to pay close attention to because they could impact the Steelers playoff chances.
Broncos at Bears – Brock Osweiler gets his first career start in place of Peyton Manning as Denver faces their former head coach John Fox. Chicago is one of those teams playing very well of late and this could be a great test for the Broncos. Pay close attention to Osweiler and the Denver defense. They’ll be in Pittsburgh in December.
Raiders at Lions – Despite the Steelers’ win over Oakland, they are still worthy of our eye because they remain fairly close in the playoff race. This should be a relatively high-scoring affair.
Colts at Falcons – This is Indy’s first game without Andrew Luck in several weeks and when Matt Hasselbeck started previously he looked pretty good. With Indianapolis coming in following our trip to Seattle, it looks very likely that we’ll see Hasselbeck who of course was the starting QB for the Seahawks in Super Bowl XL.
Chiefs at Chargers – While the Chargers are as good as dead in the AFC Playoff race, the Chiefs have won three-straight and the first of those wins was against the Landry Jones-led Steelers. With Denver in trouble, the Chiefs are a team to watch closely in the West not just for a playoff spot but division title as well.
Jets at Texans – A couple of weeks ago I would have said just pay attention to the Jets but since the Texans have moved to 4-5 in the pathetic AFC South they bear watching too. Chances are that Houston is only in the running for a division title but that could be where the Steelers go in the opening weekend of the Playoffs. The Jets are very much in the same boat as the Steelers in that they are likely out of the division race but still very much alive for a wild-card. Since the Steelers and Jets don’t play each other, conference record becomes huge.
Bengals at Cardinals – Another Bengals’ loss here could really bring the Steelers right back into the division title discussion. Let’s see how they handle their first loss with a very difficult assignment in primetime against the Cardinals.
Bills at Patriots – The Bills are very much like the Jets in that they aren’t likely to catch the Pats but they are very much alive in terms of a wild-card spot. It’s also important to keep an eye on the Patriots who are now starting to get pretty banged up with losses on the offense line and at wide receiver.
Enjoy your Steelers-free weekend kids!