Best-case scenario: Pretty simple -- win the final two games, and the Steelers earn a postseason berth. That would get them to 9-7, with only the Jets and Bengals able to match that record in the race for the sixth spot. Pittsburgh, if this plays out, would have swept three games against those two teams, earning the tiebreaker. Oddly enough, despite being all but written off for the division title weeks ago and having done little other than lose since, the Steelers can still win the AFC North. All it takes is for them to win twice and for Cincinnati to win at Baltimore on Dec. 30. In that chain of events, the No. 4 seed, somewhat miraculously, would belong to the Steelers.

Worst-case scenario: A loss next week to Cincinnati means curtains. Technically, a win against the Bengals coupled with a loss to the Browns in the regular-season finale isn't guaranteed to result in the third non-playoff season since 2003 for the Steelers. But it'd take quite a few dominoes falling the right way, and really, who wants to be in the playoffs at 8-8 after getting swept by the Browns? The true worst-case scenario is the Steelers lose both of these games, end the season on a stretch of six losses in seven games and end up with only their fourth losing season since 1991.

Reality: The Steelers have been way too inconsistent this season to have faith that they can win these final two games. While certainly a realistic possibility they still get in, odds are the Steelers will falter at least once.

Follow Steelers reporter Chris Adamski on Twitter @CBSSteelers and @BuzzsawPGH.