The Pittsburgh Steelers will try to end the 2019 season on a high note, with a win against the Baltimore Ravens.
The Pittsburgh Steelers controlled their destiny heading into Week 16, but the black and gold were upset by the New York Jets. Now, the ball is in Tennessee’s court. If the Titans defeat the Houston Texans in Week 17, then Pittsburgh’s season is over.
There are several ways for Pittsburgh to make the postseason. The easiest way is for the Steelers to beat the Baltimore Ravens and have the Titans lose to the Texans. Pittsburgh also gets in if they tie and the Titans lose.
Finally, there’s a wacky scenario where the Steelers could lose and still make the playoffs. If Pittsburgh and Tennessee both lose, but the Indianapolis Colts win and the Oakland Raiders lose or tie, the Steelers somehow hold the tiebreaker. That’s so absurd, it just might happen.
The Ravens locked up the first seed in the AFC last week, which means they have no reason to risk the health of their star players in Week 17. Unless Baltimore really wants to mess with Pittsburgh, the Ravens’ star players won’t play.
Per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Mark Ingram, Lamar Jackson, Earl Thomas, Brandon Williams and Marshal Yanda will not play. With most of Baltimore’s stars sidelines, Pittsburgh’s playoff hopes are still alive.
3. No more injuries
At this point, this is one of the boldest predictions I’ve made in 2019. Injuries derailed Pittsburgh’s season early on, and the setbacks keep coming. In Week 16 alone, the Steelers lost James Conner, Maurkice Pouncey and Mason Rudolph to injuries.
Hopefully, the Steelers can at least finish the 2019 season healthy. Devastating losses that crippled the already lacking offense marred the rest of the year. First, Ben Roethlisberger landed on IR after Pittsburgh’s Week 2 loss. From there, Conner, Rudolph, and JuJu Smith-Schuster missed significant time.
Defensively, the Steelers mostly dodged the injury bug in 2019. Bud Dupree did go down in Week 16, and Cameron Heyward did have some scares, but the only real loss was defensive end Stephon Tuitt. Considering how talented and essential Pittsburgh’s defense is, that unit needs to stay healthy, even if Week 17 is the last game the Steelers play this season.