Steelers could make AFC Championship game

The Pittsburgh Steelers peeped into the playoffs as the last wildcard seed on the final day of the NFL season, and it was no small miracle. For Ben Roethlisberger’s final drive to go ahead, Pittsburgh needed the worst team in the NFL to beat the Indianapolis Colts, then they had to beat the Ravens in Baltimore, and then hope the Chargers-Raiders didn’t end in a draw.

Against all odds, all those things happened, and the Steelers will now be playing at least one more weekend. For their troubles, the team earned a trip to Kansas City to take on the Chiefs. The same Chiefs who beat these same Steelers by 26 points just two weeks ago. There is no one outside the greater Pittsburgh area who thinks Roethlisberger and Co. have a prayer against Patrick Mahomes — except Keyshawn Johnson, that is, who said the Steelers could flee to the AFC Championship Game.

Johnson avoids the pitfalls of any football-based argument and instead leans toward the “every Sunday” justification that is hard to disprove. And technically he is right. Flukey stuff usually happens in the playoffs and the margin of error is so small that a strange bounce or an early sprain can completely change the outcome of a game.

But the Steelers are so vastly outnumbered by just about everyone in the playoff field that it’s not as easy as that. The Steelers will need countless odd jumps to even keep it close to KC next weekend, let alone weather the disruption and advance all the way to the conference final. It’s not a good team. It’s a bad team that lasted long enough to make it to the postseason, but needed a lot of help to do so.

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