5 reasons Pittsburgh Steelers will still make the playoffs

The Steelers will still be making the playoffs despite the Ben Roethlisberger news

As the days pass from the Ben Roethlisberger injury, the news starts to become clear as to when he may actually be able to suit up again. The original fear of a season-ender seems to be out of the discussion, and some even speculated a return after a Week 8 bye.

However, the story now seems to be that while it is mainly a pain tolerance issue as to when he will suit up, a previous injury in his knee has the Steelers thinking this is at least a four to six-week injury. When it comes to Ben Roethlisberger, the smart play is always to bet on the earlier return date. If Roethlisberger is to miss four weeks, it would be three games with the Patriots, Ravens and Cowboy, plus the bye. Those games seem tough without a star quarterback, and if the injury does somehow extend to the full six weeks, it could paint a bleak picture for the Steelers future playoff potential.

But this news should not have any Steelers fans shifting to next year or to Penguins season quite yet. The Steelers will bring back a healthy Ben Roethlisberger later this year and still make the playoffs. Here is why.

Oct 9, 2016; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (5) reacts on the sideline during the game against the Washington Redskins at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Oct 9, 2016; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (5) reacts on the sideline during the game against the Washington Redskins at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

5. The AFC North is bad this year

The Steelers enter this injury in a great position to be when it comes to the division race. To start, the Browns are the Browns. On top of that, the Steelers have a one-game lead on the Baltimore Ravens, and a two-game lead on the Cincinnati Bengals. With Roethlisberger only missing three games, he will emerge with this team right in the thick of the division race even in a worst case scenario.

The Bengals are the returning champs, but this is a different team. Their offensive line, which was once a team strength, is second in the league in sacks allowed and ranks 22nd in the NFL in rushing DVOA. Their other supposed strength of a defense is feeling the affects of a team that cannot run the ball and ranks 25th in defensive DVOA.

The Ravens opened the season 3-0 and seemed to grab everybody’s attention. Then you realize they opened the season by getting four months to prepare for their former quarterback Tyrod Taylor and beat the Browns and Jaguars. The Ravens have since blown three close games, two at home against the Raiders and Redskins. So far this season Joe Flacco is averaging 6.0 yards per attempt. In the only game Landry Jones has started and finished in his career he averaged 7.2 yards per attempt at the Kansas City Chiefs.

These are not two teams set to go on a run and win the division over the next three weeks. The Steelers have a game in hand on the Bengals, and while they may go to Baltimore without Roethlisberger, he should be back for their second meeting in Week 16. 10-6 will win this division, and the Steelers do still have a winning record under Mike Tomlin without Ben Roethlisberger in the lineup. To say this race is over would be ridiculous.

Oct 2, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Jeremy Maclin (19) carries the ball as <a href= Resend