Ben Roethlisberger James Conner Steelers
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers throws a touchdown to running back James Conner #30 in the first quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on November 4, 2018 in Baltimore, Maryland. Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Ben Roethlisberger watched from the sidelines during the majority of the second half of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 24-21 loss to the Oakland Raiders Sunday. With the team’s losing streak up to three games, the defending AFC North champions are in danger of missing the playoffs.

Pittsburgh has a half-game lead over the Baltimore Ravens, who fell short to the Kansas City Chiefs in overtime in Week 14. The Steelers are also only a half-game up on three other AFC wild-card contenders, who are trying to take Pittsburgh’s spot in the postseason.

The upcoming schedule certainly makes it possible for Baltimore and a team like the Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins or Tennessee Titans to pass Pittsburgh in the standings. The Steelers are set to face two of the best teams in football before closing out the regular season at home against the Cincinnati Bengals.

The New England Patriots will visit Pittsburgh in Week 15, looking to extend their winning streak over the Steelers to six games. Pittsburgh will go on the road to play the New Orleans Saints in Week 16. New England is the No.2 seed in the AFC, while New Orleans is the NFC’s top seed with less than a month to go until the playoffs.

Roethlisberger expects to be good to go against New England after suffering a rib injury Sunday. Joshua Dobbs began the third quarter in Oakland under center for the Steelers as Roethlisberger remained in the locker room, and the backup stayed in the game even after Pittsburgh’s starter made his way to the sidelines with more than 24 minutes left in the half.

Head coach Mike Tomlin kept Dobbs in the game until the Raiders took a 17-14 lead with 5:20 left in regulation. Roethlisberger threw a touchdown pass upon his return to give Pittsburgh the lead, but a last-minute Raiders’ touchdown drive and a missed Chris Boswell field goal gave Oakland the victory.

“He probably could’ve come in a series or so sooner, but we were in a rhythm and flow of the game,” Tomlin told reporters after the game, via Penn Live, acknowledging that Roethlisberger was kept out of the game despite being medically cleared. “He was ready to go when he got back out there.”

The Steelers’ offense stalled with Dobbs in the game. Pittsburgh failed to score as Dobbs completed four of nine passes for 24 yards and an interception. Roethlisberger went 25-29 for 282 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.

Roethlisberger and Pittsburgh might have to win two more games in order to win the AFC North. Baltimore is an eight-point favorite over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 15, according to OddsShark, and they’ll be favored when they host the Cleveland Browns in the season finale. The Ravens face a tough test in Week 16 when they visit the Los Angeles Chargers.

The Chargers have the AFC’s first wild-card spot, and they are almost certain to finish ahead of the Steelers in the standings. L.A. is 2.5 games in front of Pittsburgh. They came back from a 16-point, second-half deficit to win at Heinz Field in Week 13.

The Steelers have suffered three straight devastating losses. In Week 12, Pittsburgh lost on the road to the Denver Broncos as Roethlisberger threw an interception in the end zone with just over a minute remaining.

With James Conner recovering from a sprained ankle, the Steelers ran the ball 19 times for just 40 yards against the Raiders. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Sunday that Conner has a chance to return against New England, saying the running back would have played in Oakland if it were the Super Bowl.

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported Sunday that Conner will be re-evaluated Monday and the team will be cautious with the running back. The second-year player has 909 rushing yards on 201 attempts this season.