Steelers: Why There is Reason for Playoff Hopes
A brutal loss to Dallas has morale low, but there is still hope for playoff aspirations for the Steelers in 2016.
I think it is fair to say that this is one of the most devastating losses for the Steelers in recent years.
The Steelers had appeared to be turning the corner. Ben Roethlisberger orchestrated a quick 75-yard touchdown drive with under two minutes to go, capping it off by channelling his inner Dan Marino and throwing a beautiful touchdown pass to Antonio Brown off of a fake spike.
The Steelers had finally put a halt to their losing streak, and had taken down the crown of the NFC in a high scoring shootout. Big Ben had added yet another comeback victory to his legendary resume, with his most recent last-second touchdown pass surely to be played alongside his Super Bowl 43 touchdown to Santonio Holmes in his all-time highlights tape.
Or so we had reason to believe …
With only 42 seconds left remaining, the Cowboys drove down the field and found their way into the end zone, spoiling the Steelers comeback victory. Pittsburgh’s defense was handicapped by sloppy, inexcusable mistakes once again.
Where does the season go from here? With the radical portion of the Steeler fanbase already throwing in the towel and calling for Tomlin’s head, I believe there is reason for hope.
Division is Wide Open for the Steelers
The Steelers currently stand alone in 2nd place in the AFC North, one game back of the Baltimore Ravens. The division title is still easily within our reach, assuming the Steelers can finish strong.
Taking a closer look at both the Steelers and Ravens schedules, I think its fair to suggest that the Steelers have an easier road to the playoffs. Pittsburgh still has 4 divisional games remaining, with 2 of those coming against the putrid Browns. Additionally, the remaining 3 games come against Indianapolis, New York, and Buffalo, 2 of whom have losing records.
Conversely, the Ravens are entering into a brutal stretch of their schedule. Their remaining 4 non-divisional opponents are the Cowboys, Patriots, Dolphins, and Eagles.
All 4 of these teams have winning records, with possibly the Patriots and Cowboys standing as the two top teams in their respective conferences. Furthermore, the Ravens remaining divisional games are far more difficult. They still have the Bengals coming up twice on their schedule, and then a crucial rematch with the Steelers on Christmas Day.
In 7 We Trust
While schedule-watching is a fun way to take your mind off the fact that the Steelers haven’t won in over a month, an easier schedule means nothing unless the Steelers can shore up their defensive issues and play a more disciplined style of football.
Luckily, there is no Quarterback I’d rather have leading our second half charge than #7 himself, Big Ben. His effort and heroics last night assured me that there is no reason to panic as long as we have him under center.
As long as the defense can improve and hold teams to the low 20s most games, which I don’t think is too outrageous to ask for, I still have confidence in the Steelers playoff hopes.
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