The Pittsburgh Steelers enjoyed a blowout win over their AFC North division rivals the Cleveland Browns in Week 6. Meanwhile, the Tennessee Titans snuck out an overtime win over their AFC South division rivals the Houston Texans a little bit later.
The wins kept both teams undefeated. In fact, through six weeks they are now both 5-0.
Both teams have squeaked out a win here or there. At the same time though, both teams have impressive blowout wins (the Steelers this week and the Titans in Week 5 against the Buffalo Bills).
Not only that, but they are now the only two undefeated teams left in the AFC. Which obviously makes both of them potential Super Bowl contenders.
That raises the question, who has the better path to that Super Bowl? Let’s dive on in and try to figure it out.
As I have already mentioned, both teams have squeaked out a win here or there, and both teams have blown an opponent out. So looking at their past accomplishments in 2020 might not do us much good.
However, looking at their upcoming opponents tells a different story.
Neither team has the easiest of schedules remaining. What’s funny about it though is the fact that the two teams actually meet up next week in a clash of the unbeaten.
One game won’t decide the path to the Super Bowl, though. I mean, okay technically it could. But for the sake of this argument, we’re going to look at the rest of their schedules.
Immediately you have to point out the obvious disadvantage that the Steelers have. They are in the same division as the Baltimore Ravens.
You know, the team that went 14-2 last year and is 5-1 this year. The team that has Lamar Jackson at quarterback and outside of a game against the Kansas City Chiefs (the defending Super Bowl champs) have not lost a game in 2020.
Pittsburgh still has two games against them. More importantly, though, they need to worry about the division.
Yes, the Titans have some competition there. The Texans are a solid team but they are 1-5. The Jacksonville Jaguars are 1-5 as well.
Meanwhile, the Indianapolis Colts are 4-2. They are not exactly considered elite though. Not really a team you should expect to win more than 10 games though. Solid, but nothing crazy.
Pittsburgh meanwhile has the 1-4-1 Cincinnati Browns. They also have the 4-2 Browns though. Like the Colts, probably not a team that will win more than 10 games, however.
That leaves the Ravens, which we have already touched on. Baltimore might already have a loss, but it was a loss to the defending champs. It’s unwise to look into that too much, especially considering they’ve been pretty dominant in every other game.
Why does this matter? Well, that’s pretty simple – home-field advantage.
The Titans are in the easier division. Not only that, but they also have a bigger lead in their division. That means they have a much better chance of winning their division.
Tennessee does not have to worry about Baltimore in their division. It’s that simple.
Don’t get me wrong, the Titans don’t have a cakewalk. Indianapolis can cause problems. Meanwhile, a schedule that still features games against the Steelers, Ravens, Colts (twice), Browns, Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers. That’s not going to be fun.
The funny thing is, Pittsburgh has some easy games on their schedule. Tennessee does too, but they don’t get the luxury of the NFC East this year like the Steelers do.
That could help the Steelers, but guess what, the rest of their division gets the NFC East too. So in reality, it does not really sway anything in their favor.
This might be billed as a “Titans vs. Steelers” headline. But that is not the issue here. It might be the story, but what you really need to look at are the divisions.
Tennessee’s AFC South is not easy, but it is very winnable.
The fact that even at 5-0 it feels like the Steelers are working on an uphill climb should tell you all you need to know.
Both Pittsburgh and Tennessee are in fantastic positions at the moment. Due to that, they should both be considered legitimate Super Bowl contenders. However, that does not mean they both have the same journey to get there.
Right now, with that incredibly tough AFC North division, it is hard to say the Steelers are dealing with the same situation as the Titans.
Due to that, Tennessee currently has a better path to the Super Bowl. Things can change though, let’s see what happens in Week 7 when the two teams face off.