PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Steelers are going to let wild-card weekend play out before they concentrate on their opponent in the divisional round of the AFC playoffs.
Some teams with the bye might use practice this week to begin preparations for the possible foes they'll face, but head coach Mike Tomlin said the Steelers will work on themselves this week and won't prepare for their first playoff game until they know which team they will face.
The Steelers will face Jacksonville if it defeats Buffalo on Sunday afternoon. However, if Buffalo wins, the Steelers will play the winner of the Kansas City-Tennessee game that is going to be played Saturday.
"The fact that we've seen the possibilities, obviously, creates a level of comfort and at least understanding that next week we will be working towards something that is somewhat familiar," Tomlin said.
"But I think it is appropriate at this time when you aren't playing anyone to maximize this opportunity that we have to focus on ourselves -- things that we do well, things that we do not do well. How we can grow individually and collectively so that will be the overall trajectory of our focus this week."
Steelers players are welcoming the bye week with open arms. Wide receiver Antonio Brown is progressing with his calf injury and the extra week of rest will certainly benefit him.
Others are dealing with more minor injuries, but they are relishing the opportunity to watch some football instead of playing this weekend.
"It feels good to let your body get healed up this time of the year," quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said. "Everyone is bruised and banged up. We all have dings and bumps and cuts and bruises.
"To get some time to get as healed as you can -- no one will be fully healed by the time the game comes -- but to get an extra week of healing is definitely beneficial."
Any concerns about his team showing some rust in their first playoff game was quickly brushed off by Tomlin this week.
"I don't buy into it," he said. "We've been playing ball since July every day. We'll be fine."
Tomlin is trying to keep the week as normal as possible. During the regular-season bye, Tomlin lets his players go after Thursday and they enjoy a long weekend.
This week will be normal in all regards for the Steelers except they won't play a game. The practice schedule is the same as any other week.
"I think it's good to have continuity in that area, rhythm," Tomlin said. "Guys know what time their cars need to pull up in that lot etc., what time we'll be walking through those doors to take the field. What we do will be very specific to our given state and what we are, but the structure in which we work, I did strive for continuity in those areas."
Added Roethlisberger: "Same schedule, same routine. I think that's smart. It doesn't appear to be an unusual week."
Roethlisberger said he will be watching the playoff games this weekend, but they won't consume him.
"I'll watch a little bit," he said. "It'll be on. I won't sit there and be glued to my TV and tell the kids to go in the other room. I'll probably be playing catch with the kids and having fun, but it will be on."
--The Steelers granted permission for assistant coach Mike Munchak to interview with the Arizona Cardinals for their vacant head coaching position. Head coach Mike Tomlin said to this point Munchak is the only Steelers assistant to be considered for an interview by another NFL team.
"There are a lot of things that get done this time of year, particularly for teams in our position, and that's one of them," Tomlin said. "That's the fruit of the labor if you will. We're not going to be resistant to that. We're going to be supportive of that and do what's appropriate."
--The Steelers allowed Browns quarterback DeShone Kizer to scramble for 61 yards on six carries in the regular-season finale. That's something the Steelers are going to have to clean up for their first playoff game because all three of their possible playoff opponents have quarterbacks who can scramble and make plays outside the pocket.
"We have to keep contain and not be as greedy, trying to make plays," strong safety Sean Davis said. "We were all trying to get that sack record last week, so we probably got a little overaggressive and lost contain. We got the record. The nerves should be calmed down and we should be able to do a better job of keeping the quarterback contained."
That will be a must in the playoffs.
Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles, Kansas City quarterback Alex Smith and Tennessee quarterback Marcus Mariota -- the three quarterbacks the Steelers could face in the divisional round -- all were among the top running quarterbacks in the NFL this season.
Smith had the sixth-most rushing yards with 355; Bortles was next with 323; and Mariota was after Bortles with 312.
"You have to be disciplined in your rush lanes," outside linebacker Anthony Chickillo said. "Everyone has to be in their gap and do their job. The room for error in the playoffs is a lot less. Everyone has to be on their A game. There no re-dos. There are no my-bads. You have to do your job."
--The Steelers have been working through the process of replacing Ryan Shazier in the middle of their defense for the past month after Shazier suffered a spinal cord injury that ended his season. They have settled on Sean Spence as his replacement in the base defense.
Reserve linebacker and pass coverage specialist L.J. Fort has subbed in for passing downs, and the coaches have even experimented with seven defensive backs at times.
"I'm very comfortable with the process and acknowledge that this has been and probably will continue to be an ongoing one relative to the matchups within the stadiums that we walk into," Tomlin said. "Ryan is that dynamic of a player. He's an all-situations guy, and sometimes the people you replace him with are not all-situations people.
"So, one week's adjustments might be different than the next week's adjustments. I am increasingly comfortable with defining what that is and going through the process of selecting the ways in which we're going to make the necessary plays to occupy his space. It may be different every week, obviously, because of the challenges mentioned."
NOTES: WR Antonio Brown, who missed the last two games with a calf injury, did not practice Wednesday, but he did do a light workout Tuesday at the team's practice facility. His teammates are confident he will return for their first playoff game. ... C B.J. Finney, who suffered a thigh injury against the Browns, also did not practice Wednesday.