In 2005, the Steelers first Superbowl season since the 70’s, the Steelers were coming off a loss in week 13 to the Cincinnati Bengals to fall to 7-5 on the season.
The story for the last quarter of that season was that the playoffs had already started for the Steelers, and they needed every game. They went on to win 4 straight regular season games, and of course 4 more straight to win the Superbowl.
I’m not saying the Steelers are going to win the Superbowl, but the situation is similar that the team needs to go into playoff mode right now.
If they managed to win 4 straight the Steelers would win the AFC North and get a home playoff game.
Drop even just one game, and the Steelers no longer control their own destiny, and would most likely be fighting for a wild-card spot instead of the division crown.
What’s worse, is if one of those losses is to the Bengals or Chiefs (the AFC teams), there’s a very real possibility they’ll miss the post-season with 10 wins.
Those are 2 really solid teams, and the toughest test will be this Sunday on the road. Paul Brown Stadium isn’t exactly known as a “12th man” but the Steelers’ only road wins all season were against the Panthers, Jaguars, and Titans who combine for a 7-28-1 record.
Sometimes 9 wins can get you in the post-season, but I feel confident saying going 2-2 in the final 4 would all but guarantee the Steelers will miss the playoffs for the 3rd straight season.
At this point, I’d say the odds are stacked against this team, but as we’ve seen before that’s often when they step up. The Bengals and Chiefs have looked great and terrible at points this season just like Pittsburgh has.
I think this stretch will be huge for Ben Roethlisberger. Le’Veon Bell is going to get his yards, and the defense is going to give them up. We saw last week this team just isn’t good enough to overcome a bad game by their most important player.