Before we discuss about the playoff scenarios, it is imperative that we take the time to appreciate what they have accomplished this season.
After the first three games of the season, many pundits had this team picking in the top 5 of the upcoming NFL Draft. Things looked extremely dreary for a fan base that had high hopes heading into the season. Then the Steelers led by the stellar play of the newly acquired safety Minkah Fitzpatrick and the leadership of head coach Mike Tomlin, put together one of the most impressive winning streaks in recent memory, in many ways historic considering the deficit of talent on offense and special teams they have had to endure all season.
Here is where the Steelers stand. Yesterday's loss against the Jets puts them in a spot where next week is a must win against the reigning AFC North East champions Baltimore Ravens, a task which will be difficult regardless of which players they elect to play in that game. Even with a victory, they'll likely have the daunting task of facing the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead. The most ideal scenario would involve a victory and a loss or tie by the New England Patriots; with this outcome, they would clinch home-field throughout the playoffs.
Considering the quality of the teams in the AFC playoff picture, one should not fool themselves into thinking they belong within the elite. They are what you see, a developing team that found their identity through hard work and resilience. Making it into the playoffs would be the culmination of a season that will forever stand the test of time in the Steelers storied history.
Even if the Steelers do not make the playoffs, this season should still be considered a success by all measures. For a team whose objective prior training camp in August, was to rebuild their culture that was torn apart last season, not only did they resurrect it, they created a new standard for future Steelers teams to follow for years to come.