Steelers = No. 5 Seed
I've been reading the main part of this forum, and it seems to me that some Steeler fans need a dose of reality. Those who believe that the Steelers will have home playoff games this year are living in the past. This is the Baltimore Ravens year and the Ravens will get the bye and at least one home playoff game after that.
The Steelers would need to beat the Browns in Cleveland and the Ravens to lose in Cincinnati next weekend, for the Steelers to escape their fate. This is so unlikely that it is ridiculous that so many Steeler fans seem to think this likely. Talk about wishful thinking!
First of all the Ravens should win easily. Remember the last 3 years during the Harbaugh era the Ravens have won their first playoff games on the road. This is essentially a playoff game because the Ravens know they need this one or they would throw away their justified advantage over the Steelers. Harbaugh knows how to get his team up for the biggest games, this is why the Ravens have not gone down in the first round in any his three years, even playing road games each year.
Secondly the Bengals have already failed 3 times against the Ravens and Steelers, they won''t be changing that with a rookie QB. Although he may have been playing better than most rookies Andy Dalton is not Andrew Luck. He is a 35th draft choice and the Ravens have intimidated so many rookie QB's. A few hits and he will be gunshy in the pocket.
As for the Bengals home field advantage, they probably won't come close to selling out (again) unless enough Ravens fans buy up the empty seats. Not as much crowd noise to disrupt the Ravens offense and out the window goes the home field advantage.
There is more of a chance the Steelers go down to the Browns than the Ravens falling next week. Remember the last Steelers Browns game (in Pittsburgh) was 7-3 well into the 4th quarter. Browns within 4. Rothlisberger had one of his best games of the year but he won't be there this time. The Browns are a physical team which match up well with the Steelers.
Bottom line, Steeler fans should probably forget about winning the AFC North. To think this will happen is to set yourselves up for disappointment. The Steelers lost the division in two key games:
1. Losing to Baltimore in Pittsburgh
2. Losing to the 49ers when a W would have given them a 1 game lead.
It was fun while it lasted for you guys when Pittsburgh came out ahead of the Ravens, and I can understand that some of you don't want to admit that those days are over, despite the Ravens winning both games against the Steelers. But sometimes you just have to stop trying to hold onto the past, because things have changed.
Baltimore has earned the home field advantage in the playoffs, we have earned a first round bye, and we are not going to give that up.
The Steelers and their fans had better prepare for a road trip to Oakland or Denver in the first round. Because that is the reality, even if it bites.