PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The Pittsburgh Steelers were hoping to have a first round bye in the playoffs, but the cards did not fall their way.
Pittsburgh needed to win against the Cleveland Browns and have Baltimore lose to the Bengals in order to claim the AFC North crown and the No. 2 seed in the playoffs.
The Steelers took care of business with a 13-9 win over the Browns, but the Ravens held on for a 24-16 win over the Bengals.
Fans are happy the Steelers won the game, but were underwhelmed by the team’s performance against the Browns.
“It was a painful game. It’s going to be rough going into the playoffs,” Bill Bernsdorff said.
Now, while Baltimore enjoys a week off, the Steelers will go on the road to take on Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos.
Denver barely got into the playoffs with an 8-8 record. They controlled their own destiny in Week 17 and only needed a win to get lock up the AFC West division.
However, Denver lost 7-3 to the Kansas City Chiefs meaning they needed to get help from the San Diego Chargers.
With Denver’s loss, the Oakland Raiders would have won the division with a win against San Diego. However, the Chargers played the spoiler role with a 38-26 win, which handed the division to the Broncos.
After ripping off six straight wins earlier this season, the Broncos enter the playoffs on a three-game losing streak.
“They were a little bit of a Cinderella team for a while but I think the Steelers can handle it pretty well,” Anthony Cimino said.
For Pittsburgh, they finished the season with a 12-4 record and have won their last two games.
However, they may have suffered a big blow in their win over the Browns.
Running back Rashard Mendenhall left the game with an apparent knee injury and there is concern it could be an ACL injury.
“Pittsburgh has been one of those teams that seems to step up when they need to,” Maria Steno said.
Mendenhall’s status for the game against the Broncos is unknown, but will be monitored throughout the week.
“I think Mike Tomlin’s theory is right. The next guy in line has to step up and they seem to have that capability. So, I’m optimistic,” Cimino said.
You can watch the Steelers take on the Broncos on KDKA-TV at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 8.