Feeling glum about the Steelers’ so-so season? Cheer up, says The New York Times. According to a new article entitled “The Steelers Are in Better Playoff Shape Than People Think,” the team has a surprisingly good shot at making the playoffs despite their current No. 7 position.

The Upshot, a New York Times division that focuses on analysis using data and graphics, breaks down the Steelers’ chances and concludes that their “situation is significantly stronger than most football broadcasters have suggested.”

The reason for this, they argue, is twofold. For one, many cases against the Steelers are based on an “if the season ended today” premise, which fails to account for the remaining three games of the season. As the Upshot staff writes, “in some ways, it’s meaningless to say that the Steelers would trail the Jets if the season ended today. The season won’t end today.”

Secondly, the Jets still have a difficult road ahead of them, and it’s unlikely that they will win all of their remaining games. If the Steelers lose to the 10-3 Broncos this weekend but win their other two games, a single loss by the Jets will guarantee the Steelers a spot in the playoffs.

The bottom line? The New York Times gives the Steelers a puncher’s chance at making the playoffs this year:

“Forget about those playoff-picture graphics that aired on television this past weekend. The Steelers, unlike the Jets, control their chances. And even a loss to Denver leaves them with a plausible path to the playoffs. If the Steelers can beat Denver — in Pittsburgh, which helps — they will need only to beat the lowly Ravens and Browns to guarantee a wild-card spot.”

Read the full story over in today’s edition of The Upshot.

Drew Cranisky

Drew Cranisky is a writer, bartender and recent graduate of Chatham University's Food Studies program. He enjoys cats, pinball and fancy burgers.