The NFL started scheduling division games in the final month of the season, hoping to create intense head-to-head matchups that might decide division title-holders and playoff seeding.
It looks like half of the division races are all but over, including the AFC North. The Steelers are currently sitting with a 9-2 record and are holding a 3.5 game lead over the Ravens, who are playing the Texans Monday night. There is a chance that the Steelers can wrap up the division title next week against the Cincinnati Bengals. If that doesn’t pan out, they could do it the following week against the Baltimore Ravens on home turf.
It looks like the Philadelphia Eagles, New England Patriots, and the Minnesota Vikings are taking control of their divisions as well. The Eagles currently hold a five-game lead in the NFC East while the Patriots and the Vikings have three-game leads in the AFC East and the NFC North.
The Steelers will be fighting for their 23rd division title since 1970. Seven of the eight times the Steelers have gone to the Super Bowl, they won their division.
The Steelers are looking at a chance to sweep their division for the first time since 2008. The games against the Baltimore Ravens and the Cleveland Browns are both at home while Cincinnati is the only remaining division game on the road.
If the Steelers do win their division, it’s not a sure ticket for the team to head on to the Super Bowl, but it does point to playoff success, as it has in most years.