Good news Pittsburgh! The Steelers are no longer in last place in the AFC North! They're in a three way tie with Cleveland and Baltimore for 2nd place.
For as bad as the Steelers have been in 2013, they still have an outside chance to get the second wild card spot in the AFC. Yeah, that's right. The team that started 0-4 and gave up 55 points to the Patriots still has a shot at the playoffs.
The Jets and Dolphins are 5-5 and hold the five and six seeds in the AFC playoffs. The Steelers beat New York and Miami is coming to Heinz Field December 8. The Steelers have the tie breaker against the Jets, but there are a few other 4-6 teams that have beaten the Steelers (Titans, Raiders).
It's not crazy to think that 8-8 could get a team in the playoffs. That being the case, there could be a few teams who finish at .500 in the AFC. Doesn't speak very highly of the conference, but it could be enough to salvage what has been a rocky year in Pittsburgh.
Looking at the schedule today compared to the beginning of the season, an 8-8 or at best, 9-7 season is doable.
The Steelers have two games against the Browns, and one more game each against the Ravens and Bengals. The Dolphins have slowed down since their 3-0 start, and the Packers are plagued by the injury bug, especially with Aaron Rogers, who might be back for matchup at Lambeau on December 22nd. Last years Super Bowl champion is nothing to get excited about and the Browns, well, they are the Browns of course.
It's also possible because of how the Steelers have played over the past two weeks. While many saw the Bills as team far worse than Pittsburgh, but a game against a good Lions team in which the Steelers created turnovers, took advantage of those turnovers and have slighty improved in the redzone. If they play like they did today in every remaining game, they got a shot. No matter how crazy it sounds.
Despite all the bad moments and off the field headlines that include Todd Haley's interaction with fans, the Ian Rapoport story on Roethlisbeger, and Tomlin's press conferences at times resembling a cold open on Saturday Night Live, much of the AFC is just as bad as the Steelers in 2013.
8-8 does not seem crazy at all for the Pittsburgh Steelers. The season has been up and down enough already. So why not?