November Brings Gatorade Baths, But Never AFC North Crowns
Sure the Steelers last second loss to the Ravens last night was excruciating and sure the Steelers now sit squarely in third place in the AFC North after starting last night atop it. It is a pretty sobering morning around Steeler Nation and that is certainly understood, but despite the Steelers being 2 full games behind the Ravens now, there is a ton of football left to be played, especially within the division itself as the AFC North is never decided in the first week of November.
The Steelers have indeed lost the first 2 of their 6 divisional games to be played this season, with both of the loses coming at the hands of the Ravens, but they can leap back into second place next Sunday with a win against the Bengals next week. The first of many must win games.
They have however completed the toughest part of their schedule now and have done so despite suffering numerous of key injuries to their offensive line and linebacker group. The bye week follows the game Sunday in Cincinnati and baring any new injuries, they should be near full strength by the time they travel to Arrowhead Stadium to take on the Chiefs.
The Bengals are 1-0 in the division, but have yet to play anyone in the division other than the Browns. They still have the two key games against the Ravens the remainder of the way and a split is certainly not out of the question considering how the Ravens are not above laying eggs this year. Also not to be forgotten is that the Harbaugh brothers still have to get together on Thanksgiving night, a week after the Ravens host their first meeting with the Bengals. It is not out of the question that the Ravens lose one of, if not both of these games. The Ravens also still have a trip to make out west to take on the Chargers and that could be a crucial game should the Steelers run the table between now and then and the Ravens have at least one more loss before playing that game.
There is no sense in looking at the Bengals remaining games as a sweep of them by the Steelers will put that worry to rest. The Steelers need to run the table and that too is not out of the question. Like the Ravens, they have to play the 49ers, but do so on the road. Right now that looks like the toughest remaining game on the schedule outside of the two games with the Bengals.
In closing, November brings cold weather and apparently it brings Gatorade baths as well. What it does not bring is AFC North crowns and it certainly does not bring Wild Card births. Have faith Steeler Nation; there is a ton of football left to be played. The season is far from over. The AFC North is still up for grabs and so too is a ticket to the tournament.