Here's the kicker: if the 7-7 Steelers beat the 8-6 Ravens this Sunday at Heinz Field, they may actually control their playoff destiny heading into their regular-season finale Jan. 3 in Miami.
For that to happen, the Jets, Jaguars, Broncos and Texans have to lose this Sunday; all are underdogs in those games.
If such a scenario transpires, the Jets, Jaguars and Texans could finish no better than 8-8 and the Broncos would do no better than 9-7.
If the Steelers win out, the Dolphins would finish 8-8 at best, and the Ravens would finish no better than 9-7.
One plausible scenario given the remaining schedules of the teams in playoff contention would be the Steelers, Ravens and Broncos all finishing 9-7 and vying for the two AFC wild-card berths.
Under NFL guidelines for wild-card tiebreakers, the Ravens would eliminate the Steelers based on a better division record and get the No. 5 seed over the Broncos since they beat Denver earlier this season.
The final spot in the playoffs would come down to the Steelers and Broncos, and the defending Super Bowl champions would get in based on their 28-10 win Nov. 9 in Denver.
If the Titans would happen to win their remaining two games -- they play host to red-hot San Diego on Christmas -- and join the Steelers, Ravens and Broncos at 9-7, the Ravens and Steelers would still get the No. 5 and No. 6 seeds. The Steelers would get in because they have beaten the Broncos and Titans this season.