The Steelers have been playing well the last several weeks, chalking up big wins over three quality opponents.
But they've been fortunate, too - Randy Moss dropping a touchdown pass, Tony Romo throwing a horrible pass with the game on the line, Santonio Holmes scoring a game-winning touchdown after a controversial replay.
One may ask, "when is their luck going to run out?'' If it's this week, then it's no big problem.
The Steelers have already clinched the second seed and a first-round bye. The only road playoff game they could potentially have is at Tennessee, the site of this week's game.
The Steelers can still get the top seed and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs with wins over the Titans and Cleveland Browns, but at this point they've already accomplished enough to put them in great position for a playoff run.
The key this week will be to get a good feel for how the Titans play so they'll be better prepared for them if they end up facing each other on Jan. 18 in the AFC Championship similar to how they did against Indianapolis during their 2005 Super Bowl season.
The Steelers shouldn't use up their arsenal of schemes this week to try and win this game at all costs. A victory Sunday won't mean anything if they lose to the Titans one month from today.
Pro Bowl notes
n The Steelers are actually pretty fortunate to get three defensive spots on the Pro Bowl roster.
Safety Troy Polamalu and linebacker James Harrison were locks, but the rest of the defense has been tremendous more as a unit, not as individuals.
James Farrior is a veteran who is well respected around the league and the captain of the Steelers' defense, but he could have easily not made the squad.
Defensive end Aaron Smith will always be overlooked even though he is having another super season, and nose tackle Casey Hampton has performed slightly below his standards.
The one player who could/should be on the AFC roster is cornerback Ike Taylor. He's not a defensive playmaker, but he's shut down some great receivers all season.
It's a shame that a sixth-year player who's improved tremendously over the years and shines on the NFL's top-ranked passing defense is beaten out by a second-year player - the Jets' Darrelle Revis - on the league's 29th-ranked passing defense.
n The Steelers have been known to let guys go when they're past their prime. Then how does that explain four former Steelers - Alan Faneca, Chris Hope, Joey Porter and Sean Morey - making the Pro Bowl?
NFL Week No. 16
Game of the week: Carolina at New York Giants, 8:15 p.m. Sunday (NBC)
Upset special: Detroit (+7) at home vs. New Orleans
Fantasy tip: Look for Denver to bounce back offensively against Buffalo.
Buck Frank can be reached at 946-7461 or firstname.lastname@example.org.