Steelers’ Playoff, Division Title Odds Take Hit After Loss to Bengals

Steelers’ Playoff, Division Title Odds Take Hit After Loss to Bengals article feature image
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Jamie Sabau/Getty Images. Pictured: Joe Haden, Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers had a 99% chance to win the AFC North just a few weeks ago.

Just beat the Washington Football Team at home on Monday Night Football, and the Steelers would be division champs.

That didn’t happen, but that’s OK. Washington’s play improved under Alex Smith. The constant pressure of an undefeated record in December. It’s one loss. Whatever.

It didn’t happen the week after at home against the Bills, as Buffalo showed it was the better team and concerns crept in about Ben Roethlisberger and the offense.

Whatever. Beat the Bengals on Monday, and the Steelers are AFC North champions.

It was 99%.

It’s not anymore.

Steelers Division Title Odds

Week Result Odds
Week 13 Loss to WFT 99%
Week 14 Loss to Bills 99%
Week 15 Loss to Bengals 99%
Week 16 Colts at Steelers 68%

There’ve been just four bigger upsets in the NFL since 1995, including the Jets win over the Rams this week. Falling on the wrong side of history in a 27-17 loss Monday was costly for the Steelers.

Not only did Pittsburgh lose the No. 2 seed in the AFC to the Bills, the Steelers are at risk of losing the division all together.

It’s not as doom-and-gloom as it sounds. Our model still gives the Steelers a 68.8% chance to win the division. They are 93% to make the playoffs. They control their own destiny. It could be worse.

But it’s pretty bad.

Pittsburgh’s now lost three in a row, including two to teams under .500. The offense hasn’t scored 20 points in a game since Nov. 22 against the Jaguars. Roethlisberger’s thrown for 187 and 170 yards in his last two games.

Just win and they’re in, but to win this week means upsetting the Colts. Yes, you read that right. An upset.

Pittsburgh was a 3-point favorite on look-ahead lines but re-opened at +1 at FanDuel on Tuesday. That can change between now and game time, but it shows how far Pittsburgh has fallen.

That could be a market overreaction. Pittsburgh will be at home in December against Philip Rivers and a dome team playing outdoors. This is usually a spot bettors like to zag while the public fades the skidding team.

The Browns, meanwhile, travel to New York to face the red-hot 1-13 Jets coming off their only win of the year. Cleveland will be a 9.5-point favorite and shouldn’t be flat after what they saw happen in the league in Week 15.

So it could all come down to Week 17 when the Steelers hit the road for Cleveland in a matchup that could decide the division.

Pittsburgh won the first meeting between the two, 38-7. Neither team looks the same. Cleveland is 6-2 since that loss, including what some considered a moral victory against the Ravens in a 47-42 loss.

The Browns are 88% to make the playoffs, but home-field advantage in the opening round is on the line. The sweat isn’t whether or not either team will make the playoffs, but all of a sudden it’s about where they’ll be playing.

In 2020, it only makes sense Cleveland’s 1% chance at hosting a playoff game might actually come true.

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