The New England Patriots fell to the Miami Dolphins on Monday Night Football, 27-20. For the Pittsburgh Steelers, that opens the door not only to the top of the AFC, but they could even force Tom Brady and the Patriots to play an extra game.
“[Because] of the Dolphins win last night, the Steelers can knock the Patriots to the No. 3 seed on Sunday,” wrote James C Wexell of Steel City Insider.
The Steelers are sitting at 11-2, at the top of the AFC North. The Patriots are now 10-3. They still lead the weak AFC East, but they’ve slipped below the Steelers, giving up that potential No. 1 seed. The Steelers now control their own fate. If they just win out, they can hold that spot.
If the Patriots lose and the Jacksonville Jaguars win over the weekend, they’ll be tied at 10-4.
Obviously, nothing is set in stone here. The Steelers could knock the Patriots to the No. 3 seed and then lose two games in a row, handing back the top spot.
However, looking ahead makes it easy to project. After the Patriots, the Steelers play the Houston Texans and the Cleveland Browns. As Miami’s upset win proved, anything can happen, but odds are the Steelers can win both of those games if they need them to stay ahead of New England. If they can also beat the Patriots head-to-head, they may wind up forcing New England into the Wild Card round and ensuring that the path to the Super Bowl runs through Pittsburgh, not Foxborough.
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