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NFL playoff picture: Who to root for in Week 17 if you are a Pittsburgh Steelers fan

Week 17 is here and the Pittsburgh Steelers are in the AFC playoff picture. Who should Pittsburgh fans root for to help their chances?

Mason Rudolph #2 of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks to make a pass play against the Detroit Lions in the third quarter at Heinz Field on November 14, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers will face the Seattle Seahawks in Week 17. Pittsburgh needs a win to increase their chances of making the AFC playoffs and head into the week sitting outside the playoff picture. If you are a Steelers fan, you’ll have a few games you’ll be paying attention to as they look to improve their chances of a playoff berth.

Result: The Steelers beat the Seahawks to improv to 9-7. Pittsburgh remains on the outside looking in at the wild card, but they remain alive heading into a Week 18 road game against the Ravens. Baltimore clinched the No. 1 seed in Week 17, so they might rest some starters.

Indianapolis Colts vs. Las Vegas Raiders
Houston Texans vs. Tennessee Titans

The Steelers do not control their own destiny and will need help from the AFC South. The Colts, Texans, and the Jacksonville Jaguars are all tied with 8-7 records, and all have the tiebreaker advantage in Pittsburgh, but one of those teams will win the division, with the other two likely fighting over a playoff spot. For now, the Jaguars project to win the division, leaving the Colts and Texans as the focal points for the Steelers. Essentially, Pittsburgh needs neither team to win two games to end the season. If the Colts win this week and the Texans lose, the Steelers will need the Texans to beat the Colts in Week 18 and vice versa if the Colts were to lose this week and Texans win.

Result: Indianapolis defeated Las Vegas 23-20 and Houston defeated Tennessee 26-3. These results did not help the Steelers as both teams are still ahead of them in the AFC Wild Card race.

Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Carolina Panthers

One thing that could help the Steelers' playoff chances if the Colts and Texans both win this week would be the Jaguars losing their last two games of the season. This would drop them out of contention for the AFC South title and to an 8-9 record. Unfortunately for Pittsburgh, Jacksonville plays the 2-13 Panthers this week and then the Titans to wrap up the season next week.

Results: Jacksonville defeated Carolina 26-0 even without Trevor Lawrence on the field.

Baltimore Ravens vs. Miami Dolphins

This game doesn’t do much for Pittsburgh this week, but a Baltimore win could still have a huge upcoming implication. If the Ravens beat the Dolphins, they are locked into the AFC’s No. 1 seed with a bye week in the first round of the playoffs. Barring concern over too much rest, there is nothing to gain for Baltimore to play its starters in Week 18 against the Steelers. Especially with the injuries that the Ravens have endured this season, if their playoff fate is sealed, Pittsburgh could be playing backups with a shot at clinching the postseason in Week 18.

Result: Baltimore thrashed Miami 56-19. Pittsburgh will most likely be playing the Ravens’ backups next week.