The last two losses the Pittsburgh Steelers suffered have left a very small margin of error for the remainder of the season. It wasn’t just two ordinary games that Pittsburgh loss. It was two AFC North divisional games that the Steelers fell victim to, giving them a 1-2 record against divisional opponents and a 6-5 overall record.
In Week 12, the Steelers embarrassed themselves in a 20-14 defeat against the Cleveland Browns. Their defense did everything that they could to keep them in the game, but three interceptions, four lost fumbles, and a muffed punt kept them from staying within striking distance to the division-leading Baltimore Ravens.
The Ravens are now on a four-game winning streak, after edging out the San Diego Chargers in overtime on the road, and have a demanding three game lead over the second-place Steelers in the AFC North. A victory over the Steelers next week will give them a comfortable four-game lead in the division going into the final four games of the regular season.
Fortunately, for Pittsburgh, they are still barely hanging on to the sixth and final playoff spot in the AFC right now. In order for the Steelers to keep a firm hold of the number six seed, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will have to play in Week 13 versus the Ravens. Third-string quarterback Charlie Batch proved that he couldn’t carry the load while Roethlisberger was on the sideline, and second-string quarterback Byron Leftwich hasn’t done much to ease the pain of Steeler Nation either.
With Roethlisberger, the Steelers will have a fighting chance to not only make the playoffs, but also win the division in the final month of the regular season. Without Big Ben in the lineup next week, Pittsburgh can kiss the postseason goodbye.
Follow me on Twitter @ClydeASpeller