Remember when leading up to the Eagles game I said that game was no where near a must win? No? Exactly. That game is so far back in the rearview mirror that even if it felt like a “must win” at the time, it won’t be remembered that way when looking back at the 2012 season.
This week in Dallas is the exact opposite.
The Steelers could probably sneak into the playoffs with seven losses. It wouldn’t be easy but winning both head to head matchups with the Bengals would put the Steelers in the sixth seed. However, if the Steelers lost to the Chargers and Cowboys in back to back weeks, would anybody really feel like this team deserved to be in the playoffs?
I wrote last week that the Chargers were the perfect trap team: talented yet undisciplined and unlucky. With a few more breaks, they are a pretty average/wild card caliber team.. The same can be said about the Cowboys except with about 100x extra media attention. Both teams have similar makeups and can be defeated with a solid game plan that is executed 90% correctly. Problem for the Steelers is that this hasn’t happened very often.
This team has had two definitive wins this season: Home against the Redskins and on the road against Baltimore but yet have had four losses (Oakland, Tennessee, Cleveland and now San Diego) where they have come out an atrocious combination of ill-prepared, undisciplined and lackluster. Stepping away as an objective observer of the stats, this team is barely in the top half of the NFL. Every player will say they don’t care about what I or anyone else in the media writes, they’re confident in their ability to win etc. However, after losing three of their last four when in reality they could have won all four and should have won three of the four, there is no reason for anyone to buy stock in this team.
This is weak to change that. A squeaker against Dallas is expected. A decimation in Jerry World could start the ball rolling to a 2005esque playoff run. Because honestly, if the Steelers want to even make the playoffs, let alone survive round one, that’s the kind kick in the butt they’re going to need from here on out.