Are the Pittsburgh Steelers Playoff Chances Gone?


The Pittsburgh Steelers lost their first game without Ben Roethlisberger and fell to 2-2. This game was important as it was their second loss to an AFC opponent and it was their first game within the AFC North. This was also an opportunity to close the door on the Ravens playoff hopes and send them to an 0-4 record, but instead the Steelers  may have closed the door on their own playoff hopes.

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“Steelers  may have closed the door on their own playoff hopes.”

Let’s be honest about the AFC so far in 2015. It’s a crazy and the usual playoff contenders are in a rough spot after only a few weeks into the season. The Colts, Ravens, Chiefs, Chargers, and Texans are all sitting with a losing record and haven’t looked very good to start the season. Meanwhile, the Raiders, Bills, and Jets are looking like they may be ready to contend for a playoff spot this year. The Patriots, Broncos and Bengals are the only undefeated teams in the AFC right now and the Steelers play all of them this year with a loss already on their record to the Patriots.

This looks like it’s going to be a year where a team could get into the AFC Playoffs with eight or nine wins. When you look at how the divisions are matched up this year the NFC has a clear advantage on paper at least. The AFC North faces the NFC West, the AFC West faces the NFC North, the AFC South faces the NFC South and the AFC East is facing the NFC East. So at 2-2 the Steelers season is far from over, but their playoff chances have taken a big hit with Ben Roethlisberger out.

“Perhaps this Thursday Night game was just a mirage”

The Steelers enter a difficult part of their schedule as they travel to San Diego, host the Cardinals then play in Kansas City. These are games they will most likely have to play with out Big Ben and if he does return for those games odds are he won’t be at 100%.

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The Chiefs and Chargers are two teams they could be competing against for a wildcard spot. In the event they end with the same record at the end of the season the tie breakers would then be head to head and then conference record. Even if the Steelers struggle now and end the season hot, they still run the risk of losing tie breakers because they weren’t able to win these early games against conference opponents.

The biggest concern for the Steelers on Thursday was their inability to put the game away. The Steelers had a couple of short yardage opportunities that could have ended the game and they failed to convert. Perhaps the most disappointed thing about the Steelers loss is they chose not to give the ball to their best player when they should have. Le’Veon Bell, who ran for 129 yards on 5.8 yards per carry, didn’t get the ball on key short yardage situations that would have won the game for Pittsburgh.

There is no doubt this is a game the Steelers let get away and it’s unfortunate that it happened at home. So many little things didn’t get executed. Had the Steelers kicker, not using his name, been able to hit field goals that most NFL kickers should hit we’d be talking about a Pittsburgh victory today. Unfortunately that didn’t happen and reality is setting in for Steelers fans because it just may not be there year.

Pittsburgh was going to be missing key pieces of their offense to start the year, but Big Ben and the gang would be able to get them through it. Now before all of the Steelers offense could get on the field together Big Ben is out for a few weeks. It may not be until midseason before all of the Steelers offense is on the field together and by then it may be too late. It’s hard to imagine the Steelers going 2-2 over the next few games without Big Ben.

Perhaps this Thursday Night game was just a mirage and the Steelers will be able to put it all together during their long break, but the morning after a loss like that to the Ravens at home things just don’t feel right. It’s unfortunate because the Steelers may be one of the few teams that could beat the Patriots in the playoffs.

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