It will have been pure to put in writing off the Steelers after they misplaced quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (elbow) and opened the season Zero-Three.
Since then, nevertheless, they’ve pulled off one in every of their most spectacular runs since coach Mike Tomlin was employed in 2006. They’ve received 5 of their previous six video games and pushed their manner into the center of the AFC playoff race.
Let’s take a better take a look at the playoff race by 10 weeks of the 2019 NFL season.
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The Patriots emerged from their bye week with a one-game lead within the race for home-field benefit all through the playoffs, although the Ravens maintain the head-to-head tiebreaker if it involves that. Now comes the Pats’ alternative to earn that high spot. After enjoying the NFL’s best schedule so far, in line with ESPN’s Soccer Energy Index (FPI), they’re going to now face 4 consecutive playoff contenders, beginning with the Eagles in Philadelphia in Week 11.
Subsequent up: at Philadelphia
It will be troublesome to discover a crew that has performed higher over the previous month or so. The Ravens decisively defeated the Seahawks and Patriots by a mixed 31 factors, and on Sunday they destroyed the Bengals to such a level that quarterback Lamar Jackson acquired the fourth quarter off. The Steelers’ surge will no less than preserve the Ravens trustworthy within the AFC North, though they’re a full two video games forward and have already got received one of many groups’ two regular-season matchups.
Subsequent up: vs. Houston
The Texans acquired an surprising increase within the division throughout their bye when the Colts misplaced a house clunker to the tanking Dolphins. That put the Texans forward by a full recreation. However Week 10 additionally made clear that the Titans aren’t going away, both. Regardless, the Texans should be sharp as they return this week. They’ve a brutal stretch upcoming with consecutive video games towards the Ravens, Colts and Patriots.
Subsequent up: at Baltimore
The Chiefs navigated Patrick Mahomes’ knee damage solely to … lose upon his return? It occurred Sunday in comparatively freaky trend, courtesy of a pair of fourth-quarter miscues by their subject aim unit. The Chiefs’ 35-32 loss to the Titans tightened the AFC West significantly. The Raiders have closed to inside a half-game and can journey to Kansas Metropolis in three weeks. In between, the Chiefs have a must-win recreation subsequent Monday night time towards one other division rival, the Chargers. Kansas Metropolis has misplaced virtually all of its wiggle room in what as soon as appeared a weak division.
Subsequent up: at L.A. Chargers
Ryan Clark analyzes the true difficulty behind the Chiefs’ loss to the Titans and the way this is not the primary time the opposite facet of the ball could not save Patrick Mahomes.
It may be time to ask if the Payments are a playoff crew or one which has merely cleaned up towards a very easy schedule. The mixed profitable share of the groups they’ve defeated is .214, the bottom of any crew with no less than one victory within the NFL. They appeared fairly dangerous towards the Browns on Sunday, however fortuitously for them, the Colts’ loss in Miami allowed the Payments to carry a comparatively sturdy spot within the AFC race.
Subsequent up: at Miami
Effectively, properly, properly. Tomlin has remade the Steelers on the fly, behind a swarming protection and two quarterbacks (Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges) who had no actual expertise coming into this season. The protection alone, fueled partly by newcomers Minkah Fitzpatrick and Devin Bush, seems outfitted to maintain the crew in playoff rivalry. For the second, the Steelers stand above the remainder of the 5-Four subject as a result of they’ve a greater convention file than the Raiders they usually have a head-to-head victory over the Colts.
Subsequent up: at Cleveland
7. Oakland Raiders (5-Four)
eight. Indianapolis Colts (5-Four)
9. Tennessee Titans (5-5)
10. Jacksonville Jaguars (Four-5)
The Saints’ loss provides one other layer to what already was an enormous Monday night time recreation towards the Seahawks. The 49ers already knew win would transfer them into the motive force’s seat within the NFC West. However now they’ve an opportunity to place far between them and the Saints within the race for the highest seed within the convention. And, would not you already know it, they’re going to host the Packers — their different prime competitor for the highest spot — in two weeks.
Subsequent up: vs. Seattle (Monday night time)
Chris Berman and Tom Jackson recap the weekend’s video games with prolonged highlights and evaluation.
The present will stream reside at 7:30 p.m. ET every Sunday in the course of the 2019 season and will probably be out there on demand every week till late Wednesday night time. Watch on ESPN+
The Packers not often make it straightforward; their plus-45 scoring differential is the second lowest among the many eight division leaders. However they rebounded from their Week 9 loss to the Chargers with a tricky win over a Panthers crew that appears ok to ascend into the playoff image sooner or later. As they enter their bye, all targets are inside cheap attain, together with the NFC North title and the No. 1 total seed.
Subsequent up: at San Francisco (after the bye)
Deep breaths are essential in New Orleans. Sure, Sunday’s residence loss to the Falcons was perplexing and eye-opening. However within the huge image, the Saints stay firmly accountable for the NFC South and are one 49ers loss away from getting again into the dialog for the highest spot within the convention. And their schedule units them as much as observe that path, with three consecutive division video games adopted by a Week 14 recreation towards the Niners on the Superdome.
Subsequent up: at Tampa Bay
A Sunday night time loss to the Vikings ate up the remainder of the Cowboys’ respiratory room within the NFC East. They nonetheless personal the division lead over the Eagles by advantage of their Week 7 victory within the groups’ first matchup of the season. And there may be nonetheless time to provoke within the second half. However in need of that, the Cowboys are having one of many NFL’s most vexing seasons. Are they the crew that began Three-Zero? Or are they the crew that has gone 2-Four since? There is not a ton of time left to search out out.
Subsequent up: at Detroit
If the Seahawks needs to make a run at overtaking the 49ers within the NFC West, they’re going to most likely want to begin Monday night time in San Francisco. That’s, in fact, assuming the 49ers can maintain as much as a grueling schedule the remainder of the way in which. If not, the Seahawks would possibly ascend as a matter of attrition.
Subsequent up: at San Francisco (Monday night time)
We will see if the Vikings’ win Sunday night time in Dallas was a signature win towards a playoff crew, or one towards a crew that began scorching and light down the stretch. However regardless, the Vikings ought to have a pep of their step after quarterback Kirk Cousins received his first highway recreation in prime time since Dec. 26, 2015. Their schedule will get a bit extra favorable for the subsequent few weeks, with residence video games towards the Broncos (Three-6) and Lions (Three-5-1) sandwiched round a visit to Seattle.
Subsequent up: vs. Denver
7. Los Angeles Rams (5-Four)
eight. Philadelphia Eagles (5-Four)
9. Carolina Panthers (5-Four)
10. Chicago Bears (Four-5)