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AFC North Standings: Steelers could take strangle hold on division in Week 7

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The Pittsburgh Steelers are in sole possession of first place in the AFC North, and could take a strangle hold on the division lead this Sunday.

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

My what a difference a week makes in the AFC North.

After Week 5, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens shared the lead in the division, with the Steelers holding first place due to a head-to-head victory, as the surging Cincinnati Bengals headed into their bye week coming off back-to-back victories.

Fast forward to present day, and the Steelers are still in first place, but with a clear one-game lead over the Ravens. Before going any further, let’s update the standings, shall we?

AFC North Standings

Pittsburgh Steelers - 4-2
Baltimore Ravens - 3-3
Cincinnati Bengals - 2-3
Cleveland Browns - 0-6

In Week 6, the Steelers upset the Kansas City Chiefs on the road, the Ravens lost to Mitch Trubisky and the Chicago Bears at M&T Bank Stadium, the Browns lost to the Houston Texans and the Bengals got to sit at home and take it all in on their bye week.

The upcoming week will be huge in the AFC North. The Ravens travel to Minnesota to play the Vikings, the Browns host the Tennessee Titans, but the biggest matchup will be when the Bengals travel to Heinz Field to play the Steelers.

If the Steelers are able to take care of business at home in Week 7, they will have at least a game and a half lead on the division, thanks to their head-to-head win over Baltimore in Week 4, and will turn the division into a game of catch up with the Steelers. A win for Pittsburgh Sunday also would equate to a first-half sweep in the division (beating CLE in Week 1, BAL in Week 4, and potentially CIN in Week 7).

While there is still a lot of football left to be played, there is no doubting the importance of the game this weekend in Pittsburgh. The Bengals will want to prove they have overcome their 0-3 start, and what better way than beating the Steelers on their home field? As for Pittsburgh, what better way to keep the team focused than to have Vontaze Burfict, Adam “Pacman” Jones and Andy Dalton come to town.

When the dust settles this Sunday, the AFC North standings could be tight, or blown wide open. Either way, you might want to get your popcorn ready!