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lamberts-lost-tooth
12-03-2008, 05:27 AM
Playoff scenario season kicks off for the Steelers
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


As robins do in the spring, the NFL signals the coming of its "second season" by issuing what it calls "playoff scenarios" each week late in the regular season. They've been out a few weeks now, and yesterday the Steelers appeared for the first time.

Yes, the Steelers at 9-3 could clinch a playoff spot this week. To do so, they must beat the Dallas Cowboys at Heinz Field and the Miami Dolphins and the New England Patriots both have to lose.

That's the simple version because in the other scenario, Miami can tie, but then the Steelers need the Patriots and the New York Jets to lose.

The Steelers have a bigger prize in mind: They want to win the AFC North Division, which would give them at least one home playoff game, and they then would like to earn one of the top two seeds. That not only would give them a home playoff game but a bye into that game and then a ticket to the AFC championship by winning just once.

Their biggest obstacle to both are the surprising Baltimore Ravens, who loom one game behind them in the division at 8-4.

The simplest way for the Steelers to take care of the Ravens would be to win Dec. 14 in Baltimore. However, if the Steelers were to lose that game, it would open many possibilities.

If Baltimore were to beat the Steelers and the teams tied atop the AFC North, things could get sticky. The first tiebreaker is head-to-head, and that would be a draw. Next up is division record. The Steelers are 4-0 and the Ravens 4-1, but a loss in Baltimore for the Steelers likely could leave the teams tied there as well.

Next up would be record among common opponents. To date, the Ravens are 6-3 and the Steelers 5-3 there, but the Ravens have to play the Washington Redskins, Cowboys and Jacksonville Jaguars around the Steelers in their final four games. It's possible that category could be tied as well. Then the tiebreaker moves to strength of victory, which is described as calculating the combined winning percentage of the opponents a team has beaten.

There are more, but that is where we will stop. The Steelers have a much clearer path to a No. 2 seed if they can win the division because they have a better record (8-1) in the AFC than the Jets (6-4) or the Denver Broncos (4-5), who are leading their respective divisions. And that's not likely to change if the Steelers win their division.

So, in this morning's line, it appears the Steelers have a great chance to get that No. 2 seed and the booty that goes with it, provided they hold off the Ravens in their own division.

Former Steelers coach Bill Cowher used to talk at times like these about trying to earn the best position over the final month of the season for the playoff run. Current coach Mike Tomlin wanted none of that when he was asked about it yesterday.

"No. I am not a big-picture guy, I really am not," he said. "We play the Dallas Cowboys this week and our focus is to beat those guys if we can. We have no other way of looking at it really. I don't understand the positioning mentality."

It used to be fact that if a team did not win its division and did not have a home playoff game, it could not win the Super Bowl. But the Steelers and New York Giants changed all that forever when they did it in two of the past three seasons, each winning three playoffs games on the road before winning the Super Bowl.

Still, getting the bye along with a home playoff game remains a big deal.

What also might help the Steelers in the playoffs is the schedule they played in the regular season. It was rated the toughest in the NFL based on 2007 results of 2008 opponents; Steelers foes checked in at 153-103 (.598).

"One thing about playing all these great teams over the course of the season: It's only going to make us better for the playoffs," wide receiver Hines Ward noted.

Tomlin agreed, somewhat, with a disclaimer yesterday:

"It only helps us if we win. That is what we are focused on: trying to win. We understand that if we win and have success under adverse circumstances, that strengthens us for the battles that lie ahead. It is always a good experience if you win, so that is where our focus is."

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08338/932286-66.stm

Steelers & I
12-03-2008, 05:59 AM
"it appears the Steelers have a great chance to get that No. 2 seed and the booty that goes with it"

Wow, can we see the booty candidates? I know, booty is a prize. It sounded good anyway.

stillers4me
12-03-2008, 06:23 AM
Just win the next 4 games and all is well. Let's take care of our own business and let the cards fall where they may.

Steel_Bus_24
12-03-2008, 06:47 AM
Just win the next 4 games and all is well. Let's take care of our own business and let the cards fall where they may.

specifically the Balt game:tt03:

LambertLunatic
12-03-2008, 09:44 AM
Just win the next 4 games and all is well. Let's take care of our own business and let the cards fall where they may.


Make that the next 7 games. :chuckle:

markymarc
12-04-2008, 06:58 AM
All I am worried about right now is the Cowgirls on Sunday.