Due to their recent 5-2 stretch and the fact that the AFC is a land of mediocrity, the Pittsburgh Steelers are still in the thick of the postseason chase. The fact that the Steelers are 5-6 at the moment and in the hunt for the final wild card spot in the AFC has many people thinking “playoffs” at the moment.
While qualifying for postseason play is still a tangible reality for Pittsburgh, many on their roster like Fernando Velasco do not even want to let their minds drift in that direction yet. According to a recent article by Teresa Varley of Steelers.com, the veteran center has more important things to think about in the immediate present:
We can’t even think about (playoffs) right now, especially on a short week, … We just have to worry about the Ravens and take it one game at a time. It’s true. That’s our only focus. That is what I appreciate about being on this team. You can’t get ahead of yourself. Even when we were 0-4, that’s the way we took it.
It is downright refreshing to see that Velasco and his teammates are apparently focused on Baltimore, especially since Thursday’s game (along with their final four regular season games) is an absolute must-win contest for the Steelers.
Both teams are 5-6, tied for second-place in the AFC North behind the Cincinnati Bengals (7-4), and tied for the final postseason berth in the AFC at the moment. To catch Cincinnati and put distance between them and Baltimore within their own division, the Steelers must defeat the Ravens on Thursday night. Moreover, a win would give Pittsburgh a 2-0 head-to-head record against Baltimore and all but shatter the postseason hopes of the defending Super Bowl champions.
Make no mistake, five wins in a row will lock up a postseason berth for Pittsburgh in a crowded AFC this year. Yet the Steelers cannot afford to play like a “tomorrow” exists for them, because it doesn’t. Looking down their schedule prematurely does them zero good, particularly when they have such a tall order in front of them like the Ravens only three days ahead of them.
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