What Does the Steelers Super Bowl Path Look Like?

By Matt Kleinfelter
Dec. 28, 2016

With week 17 being meaningless for the Pittsburgh Steelers (besides staying healthy), lets take a look at who the opponents could be between the Steelers and their 3rd Super Bowl appearance under Mike Tomlin.  Although week 17 is not important for the Steelers, it will help decide the Steelers first round opponent.  The two teams they could play are the Miami Dolphins or the Kansas City Chiefs.  For many of you who have followed the Steelers this year, playing the Chiefs sounds good considering the Steelers beat them 43-14 in LeVeon Bell's first game back from suspension.  The 29 point drubbing was the biggest of the year for the Steelers but lets not be fooled by this outcome.  Since then, the Chiefs have been one of the best teams in football and they added a very scary offensive threat in Tyreek Hill to their offense than continues to get better.  On the other hand, all Steelers fans will remember their loss to the Miami Dolphins when Ben Roethlisberger went down with a knee injury.  Based on these two games, why wouldn't the Steelers want to face off against the Chiefs in the first round?  The fact the Dolphins lost their QB to an injury is the main reason I would prefer playing them over the Chiefs who are extremely hot.  Also, the chances of playing the Chiefs are less likely based on who each team plays this weekend.  For the Steelers to play the Chiefs, the Chiefs need to lose to the Chargers and Miami needs to beat Miami.  If this does not happen, the Steelers will face Miami in round 1.  I love this matchup for the Steelers in Pittsburgh and with a backup QB going for Miami, I cannot see them putting up enough points to stick with the Steelers potent offensive attack.  

Predicting a Steelers win in round 1, the Steeler would then play in Oakland in the Divisional Round based on the way the playoff seeding stand right now.  The Raiders are currently dealing with a tough QB situation since David Carr is out for the remainder of the season.  Without Carr (possible MVP), it will be tough for the Raider offense to be effective even with some of the weapons they have.  As for the Raider defense, they have given up some big plays all year which puts them in shootout type games.  

If the Steelers beat the Raiders, they would most likely be playing NE who has home field advantage throughout the playoffs and I cannot see them losing before the AFC Championship.  Historically, the Steelers have struggled to beat NE in the playoffs.  In this matchup, the Patriots will be favored to win but they are not as scary without superstar TE Rob Gronkowski.  

Overall, the road to the AFC Championship does not look too bad with 3 backup QBs playing in the AFC playoffs.  I predict the Steelers to make it to the AFC Championship and lose a close one to the Patriots.