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NFL playoff picture: What does Ravens-Steelers mean for AFC standings

The Ravens face the Steelers in Pittsburgh on Sunday. We break down what the game means for the NFL playoff picture.

Tyler Huntley #2 of the Baltimore Ravens throws the ball against the Pittsburgh Steelers at M&T Bank Stadium on January 09, 2022 in Baltimore, Maryland. Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Results update: The Ravens held off the Steelers to improve to 9-4 and maintain their spot atop the AFC North. The Steelers dropped to 5-8 and their faint playoff hopes took a big hit.

The Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers face off in an AFC North showdown that kicks off at 1 p.m. ET. The most significant storyline for this game is that Lamar Jackson is not playing. He suffered a knee injury last week and is inactive for the game. Tyler Huntley is starting in his place in a must-win game for the Ravens.

Ravens playoff picture

Baltimore is 8-4 and coming off a tough 10-9 win over the Broncos. Tyler Huntley came on in the first quarter and finished out the game, leading the team to a game-winning touchdown with 28 seconds left in the game. The Ravens come into this game tied for first with the Bengals and holding the head-to-head tiebreaker until they face off in Week 18. The Ravens are in third place overall in the AFC, a game back of the Bills and Chiefs, and a game up on the fourth place Titans.

With the Bengals hosting the Browns this week, Baltimore could climb as high as second overall in the conference with a win or could drop as low as sixth in the conference with a loss.

Steelers playoff picture

Pittsburgh has won two straight games on the road against the Colts and Falcons. They’re 5-7 and tied with the Browns in the back half of the AFC North. They are in 11th place, losing the head-to-head tiebreaker to the Browns, and sitting two games back of the seventh Jets.

If the Steelers win, they could climb into 10th place in the conference and third place in the division. They are unlikely to move much closer in the playoff picture, but they’re not entirely out of it yet.

Tiebreaker implications

This is the first of two games between these two, which will determine the head-to-head tiebreaker. For the wild card race, it will impact the divisional record tiebreaker and the conference record tiebreaker. Baltimore is 2-0 in the AFC North and 5-3 in the AFC. Pittsburgh is 1-2 in the division and 2-6 in the conference.