Mostly when playoff teams say nobody believed in them, it’s nonsense. 

For the Pittsburgh Steelers this week, they might be right. 

The Steelers opened as a 13-point underdog at the Kansas City Chiefs, and that has gone down to 12.5 at BetMGM. That’s still the biggest spread in wild-card weekend history, and by a decent margin. 

The largest spread for a wild-card game in NFL history before Steelers-Chiefs is either 11 or 11.5 (because competing sportsbooks have different spreads sometimes, the records can vary). The history for the double-digit underdogs in this round isn’t too good. 

History of big wild-card underdogs

Here are the 10 games on wild-card weekend that have had a double-digit spread according to Stathead, with the season in which the team took place listed: 

1996: Vikings at Cowboys (-10), Cowboys won by 25

1996: Eagles at 49ers (-10.5), 49ers won by 14

2004: Broncos at Colts (-10), Colts won by 25

2007: Titans at Chargers (-10), Chargers won by 11

2010: Seahawks vs. Saints (-10), Seahawks won by 5

2011: Lions at Saints (-10.5), Saints won by 17

2012: Vikings at Packers (-11), Packers won by 14

2016: Dolphins at Steelers (-11), Steelers won by 18

2020: Washington vs. Buccaneers (-10), Buccaneers won by 8

2020: Bears at Saints (-11), Saints won by 12

The 2012 Vikings (Joe Webb at QB), 2016 Dolphins (Adam Gase’s best team, which caught a fortunate scheduling run to get a berth) and the 2020 Bears (a mediocre No. 7 seed in the first year of the expanded playoffs), all share the record as largest wild-card underdog according to the closing numbers Stathead uses. 

The 2010 Seahawks, who famously made the playoffs at 7-9 and then won in the “Beast Quake” game, are holding the torch for the double-digit wild-card underdogs. They’re the only one of the 10 to win. They and Washington last season are the only ones to cover. 

If you look at the Steelers and assume it’s too many points for a playoff game, remember double-digit underdogs in this round are 2-8. There’s…

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