Pittsburgh Steelers Sneak Into Playoff Picture

By Nicholas Crimarco
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Three weeks ago, the Pittsburgh Steelers lost to the New England Patriots 55-31 and their season was all but over. At 2-6, they were hearing rumors about trading franchise Quarterback Ben Roethliseberger and potentially missing the postseason for a second straight year.

Fast forward three weeks and Pittsburgh is now tied for the final Wild Card spot in the AFC at 5-6, and are tied for the longest winning streak in the AFC pending the Denver Broncos vs. New England game. There are six teams with a 5-6 record in the AFC and all are tied for the final playoff spot. Pittsburgh is currently second out of the six teams, trailing only the Tennessee Titans for that spot.

On Sunday against the Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh finally started to look like the Steelers team that fans are used to. They ran the ball 34 and passed 34 times, which is as perfectly balanced as you can get. Roethelisberger, who has been sacked more than anyone since he got into the league, was not sacked at all and only hit twice.

The most important thing that you can take from Sunday’s game was the way the Steelers defense looked. They have lost a lot of their star defenders that they had when they won the Super Bowl like James Harrison, James Farrior and Casey Hampton. However, they have been able to replace those guys with young players like Jarvis Jones, Cameron Heyward and Ziggy Hood. It took a while for this unit to gel, but on Sunday they turned Cleveland over four times, including three fumbles and sacked Browns QBs five times.

This was the best game Pittsburgh has played this season by far. They even had their best punting game of the season by pinning Cleveland inside the 20 on five of their seven punts, including one by Roethelisberger. They were 2-for-2 on Field Goal attempts and did not turn the ball over once.

After being left for dead three weeks ago, Pittsburgh has to be the favorite to capture the sixth playoff spot in the AFC. Not only do they have a very experienced team that has been through this before, but they are hitting their stride at the right time. In a weak AFC, Pittsburgh may not just get into the playoffs, but they have to be one of the scariest six seeds in the history of the NFL playoffs.

Will the Steelers be able to play there way into a playoff spot? Get Steelers tickets today and see for yourself as they try and close out the 2013 NFL season strong.

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