When an NFL team starts the season 0-4 it is safe to say that the remainder of the season becomes a week-by-week schedule. This certainly is true for the Pittsburgh Steelers who are still attempting to claw their way out of the 0-4 hole they dug themselves into at the start of the season.
After their victory at Heinz Field over the Detroit Lions, the Steelers sit at 4-6 and are suddenly extremely relevant, not only in the AFC North picture, but also in positioning for the 6th and final AFC playoff spot.
Is it too early to talk playoffs with this Steelers team? Yes, but at the same time its smart to realize that this team has not flat lined yet. No, there is still a faint heart beat in the steel city that this team might just be able to pull off a miracle and make something out of nothing.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have won 4 of their last 6 since starting 0-4 and are currently in a three way tie for second place in the AFC North behind the Cincinnati Bengals. Hope certainly abounds for the Steelers and their fans with the prospect of the team righting the ship.
Taking a look at the remaining schedule for the Steelers certainly opens up some eyes. Home games include: Miami Dolphins, Cincinnati Bengals and the Cleveland Browns. Away games include: Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens and the Green Bay Packers.
Do the math and you see that the Steelers still have 4 games remaining against AFC North division opponents. Those games alone could make or break their season, or seriously influence the AFC North standings. With the Bengals standing atop the division at 7-4 the Steelers will need help from the Bengals’ opponents, and will have to take care of business at Heinz Field on December 15th when the Bengals come to town.
Outside of the AFC North competition is a home game against the Dolphins (5-5) who are currently a game ahead of the Steelers for the second AFC wild card playoff spot. Throw in a crucial game at Lambeau Field and you have yourself a remaining schedule that leaves the Steelers’ fate in their hands.
It is too easy to to get caught up in the thought of playoff scenarios, division races and the potential the future holds for this team, but one thing is certain, this Steelers team is still playing meaningful games.
The Pittsburgh Steelers barely have a pulse, but they aren’t dead yet.
Jeff Hartman covers the Pittsburgh Steelers for RantSports.com and also contributes for the Penguins and Pirates. Follow him on Twitter @BnGBlitz