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12-12-2006, 11:56 AM
Steelers' playoff chances slender, at best

By Mike Prisuta
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Tuesday, December 12, 2006


The Steelers are facing elimination from playoff consideration this weekend even if they manage to win Sunday at Carolina.

In the event the Jacksonville Jaguars (8-5) win at Tennessee and the Cincinnati Bengals (8-5) win at Indianapolis, the Steelers would be history, according to the NFL office and the Elias Sports Bureau.

The Steelers would not survive a three-way tie with Jacksonville and Cincinnati at 9-7 because of the NFL's tiebreaking procedure, which first addresses teams within the same division in a three-or-more-team scenario.

The first tiebreaker between the Steelers and Bengals would be head-to-head games, which would have to finish in a 1-1 split if the Steelers are to achieve a 9-7 record (the Steelers conclude the regular season Dec. 31 in Cincinnati).

The second tiebreaker would be division record, and both the Steelers and Bengals would have 4-2 marks in the AFC North at 9-7 (to get there the Steelers would have to beat the Bengals in Cincinnati, the last division game remaining for both teams).

The third tie-breaker is record in common games. The Steelers, at 9-7, would be 4-4 in such games, having beaten Kansas City, New Orleans, Tampa Bay and Carolina and having lost to San Diego, Atlanta, Oakland and Denver.

The Bengals, at 9-7, would have beaten Kansas City, Carolina, New Orleans and Oakland, and would have lost to Tampa Bay, Atlanta, San Diego and Denver in games common with the Steelers outside the division.

The decisive tiebreaker would be conference record. The Bengals, if they beat Indianapolis on the way to 9-7, would finish at 7-5 in AFC games.

The best AFC record the Steelers could achieve would be 6-6.

The Steelers, thus, would be the first team eliminated in a three-way tie with the Jaguars and Bengals at 9-7.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_483720.html