The Steelers need losses by the New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins to have a shot at the wild-card spot. But the Dolphins will be facing a New York Jets team that is making yet another quarterback change, this one due to injury.
Jets coach Robert Saleh announced on Friday that Mike White will be out due to a rib injury, and he will be replaced by Joe Flacco. Zach Wilson, the second pick of last year's draft who has struggled this season, will be the backup to Flacco. The Jets have been eliminated from the playoffs.
The Jets-Dolphins game, which Miami needs to win to be alive in the wild-card chase, will be a battle of backup quarterbacks. The Dolphins will be without Tua Tagovailoa, and Teddy Bridgewater also seems unlikely to play with a finger injury. If Bridgewater can't play, rookie Skylar Thompson will start for the Dolphins.
If Miami wins and the Patriots lose to the New York Jets, the Dolphins are in the playoffs. If the Patriots and Dolphins lose and the Steelers win, Pittsburgh gets the final spot. If all three lose and the Jacksonville Jaguars lose on Saturday night, the Jaguars are the wild-card team. If the Patriots, Dolphins and Steelers lose and the Jaguars win, clinching the AFC South title, the Patriots get the No. 7 seed.
For the Jets, turning back to Flacco sums up a disappointing season derailed by bad quarterback play. Wilson started nine games this season, White started four and Flacco's start Sunday will be his fourth. The Jets were having a good season but lost five in a row. Wilson's lack of development this season has been a huge story for the Jets, not just for this season but the future. That they're starting Flacco over Wilson in a game after they've been eliminated from the playoffs is telling.
The Jets will presumably still be playing hard with Flacco at quarterback, trying to end the Dolphins' season. The Steelers, and maybe even the Jaguars, are hoping.