On that final Sunday of the regular season, there will be 16 winners. Many of those will advance to the playoffs but many will also clean lockers and head off to the offseason.
The Pittsburgh Steelers can accomplish a number of things with a win on Sunday and a potential playoff berth is just one of them.
A victory gives them a sweep of their rivals from Cleveland and gets them to 8-8 for the second straight season. That record is far below the expectations the organization sets for itself each year but consider where this season started.
Should they win; the Steelers will have gone 8-4 over their last 12 games. There are many reasons why they’ve been able to turn it around but perhaps the biggest thing going for them now is momentum into the next season.
Momentum is a very subjective thing to be sure especially when this team could see so much turnover but don’t discount the confidence that has grown with this team especially on offense. Young, athletic offensive linemen like David DeCastro, Marcus Gilbert and Kelvin Beachum have gained vital experience and should feel much better heading into next year.
While most of us have already chalked up a win over the Browns this weekend (myself included), we must remember anything can happen. Mike Tomlin will have his team ready either way because he also knows the importance of heading into the offseason feeling good about something.
Even if that something isn’t the playoffs for a second straight season.
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.