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Pittsburgh Steelers could take advantage of upcoming schedule

The Pittsburgh Steelers are currently 1-1, but the next five games could prove crucial for a team looking to keep pace within the AFC North division race.

Patrick Smith

After two games, the Pittsburgh Steelers are 1-1 and tied for second place in the AFC North with the Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns. All three teams are staring up at the 2-0 Cincinnati Bengals who lead the AFC North.

Although some Steelers fans might make you think the season is over after their recent loss in Baltimore, the team has an opportunity to string together some wins and help their cause not only within the division, but also within the AFC.

This week the Steelers take to the road again to face the 2-0 Carolina Panthers on Sunday Night Football in Charlotte, NC. This will be a tough test for the Steelers, but after the Panthers, the schedule loosens up.

The following week the Steelers host the 0-2 Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Heinz Field, then travel to Florida to play the 0-2 Jacksonville Jaguars. Staying on the road, the Steelers travel to Cleveland to face the 1-1 Browns before returning back home to play the Houston Texans on Monday Night Football.

The Steelers have an opportunity to 'stack wins', as Mike Tomlin calls it, and that would certainly boost any chance this team has of breaking out of their 8-8 mold and making their way into the post-season.

The Steelers of recent memory have struggled against teams they should beaten. In 2013, losses to the Oakland Raiders, Minnesota Vikings and the Miami Dolphins ultimately ended their chances for the playoffs.

If this team wants to prove they're better than their 2013 counterparts, putting together an impressive five-game stretch starting Sunday night will go a long way in doing so.