The Steelers have joined the Falcons as teams to clinch playoff berths in Week 15.
To prove the complexity of the tie-breaking system associated with the NFL playoffs, the Steelers became the third team to clinch a playoff spot (joining the Patriots and Falcons) Sunday despite a 22-17 home loss to the Jets.
The official explanation is that the Steelers clinched based on strength of victory tie-breakers over certain other teams.
If the Steelers win out against the Panthers (2-12) and Browns (5-9), they would win the AFC North based on a better division record than the Ravens. In that scenario, the Steelers would be the AFC’s No. 2 seed.
With nine more playoff spots to be claimed, the playoff picture is bound to get more complicated. So here’s a look at what things would look like if the season ended today.