As you've noticed, the AFC North plays the AFC West this year (which is a good thing).
Each team has two games 'varied' from the others, based on the prior year's finish. This is to make a tougher schedule for the teams that had good seasons, and an easier schedule for those not so good teams. Makes sense. Happily for the Steelers, sometimes this backfires for the bad teams. 2009 records for those two 'varied teams' so far:
(11-2) Baltimore - at New England, Indianapolis
(8-6) Cincinnati - Houston, at NY Jets
(6-7) Cleveland - at Buffalo, Jacksonville
( 2-10) Pittsburgh - Tennessee, at Miami
Tennessee and Miami were a combined 24-8 last year, so as champs, Pittsburgh got the harder schedule. But it didn't work out that way.
Baltimore and Cincy have already lost their first 'varied' games, while we won ours.
Indy looks to be the best team in the AFC. The Jets are 4-3, but have a history of folding down the stretch. Miami has played Indy and New Orleans tough, but lost both games, so who knows what they'll be like in the season finale.
But the opponents' performance so far certainly favors the Steelers. 2009 has been kind to the Steelers regarding the division schedule variation.