Bob Smizik: Steelers definitely will lose draft choice

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According to multiple reports this morning, the Steelers definitely will lose a draft choice as a result of coach Mike Tomlin interfering with play against the Baltimore Ravens on Thanksgiving night.both and Jason La Canfora of are reporting the loss of a draft choice is definite. All that remains to be determined is in what round. attributed its report to Peter King of Sports Illustrated.

It previously had been reported the Steelers would lose a draft choice only if the Ravens playoff chances were affected by point differential.

When the Steelers were 0-3 and 0-4 and 2-6, not many expected them to be in the playoff hunt in the 14th week of the season. But here they are within reach of the postseason, despite their 5-7 record.

Their destiny is not in their own hands, but if they can win out - no easy feat considering the difficulty of the schedules of their opponents - the playoffs are a possibility. That might not mean much more than the right to be pummeled by the Denver Broncos, but the Steelers, along with three or four other teams in the AFC, would gladly accept such a position in the first week of the postseason.

The Steelers are currently the ninth seed in the AFC, behind Baltimore and Miami, both 6-6, and Tennessee 5-7.

They can move ahead of the Dolphins with a win today at Heinz Field.

The schedule give them a chance to move past Baltimore and Tennessee. The Titans are ahead of them based on head-to-head records.

The remaining schedules:

Baltimore (6-6): Minnesota, at Detroit, New England, at Cincinnati.

The skinny: The Ravens will be favored to lose their last three games, providing the finale is meaningful to Cincinnati, and finish at 7-9.


Miami (6-6): at Pittsburgh, New England, at Buffalo, Jets

The skinny: If they lose today and lose to the Patriots, the best they can finish is 8-8.

Tennessee (5-7): at Denver, Arizona, at Jacksonville; Houston.

The skinny: The Titans have lost six of their past eight and easily could finish 6-10.

Steelers (5-7): Miami, Cincinnati, at Green Bay, Cleveland

The skinny: If they can get past Miami and Cincinnati, no given, their hopes might rest on the health of Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers and whether the Packers, 5-6-1 and currently the 10th seed in the NFL, want to risk further injury to their franchise quarterback.

Of the four teams, the Steelers are decidedly not the favorite. But hope exists.

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