The Steelers play Cincinnati Sunday for the first of three games in a row at Heinz Field with a one-game lead at 9-3 over the Ravens and a leg up on the tiebreaker after their 13-10 comeback victory in Baltimore last Sunday. The path to the division title is totally in their hands.
"We can't look at it like that," quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said. "When you start looking at it that way, you start to get in trouble. All I know is that we have the Bengals this week."
The Steelers have their next three at home and then finish up in Cleveland Jan. 2. They will be favored in at least three of those and maybe all four - they play the New York Jets in Heinz Field Dec. 19. The others all have losing records - Cincinnati, Carolina and Cleveland.
The Steelers have the edge now on the first tiebreaker within the division against Baltimore. They have just one loss within the division compared to the Ravens' two. Provided they beat both Cincinnati and Cleveland, they would maintain that tiebreaker and could lose to the Jets, win the other three and guarantee themselves the division title no matter what Baltimore does over the next four weeks.
At the moment, they also have the inside track on the No. 2 seed with a bye in the first round of the playoffs.
"We have to keep winning ballgames," said defensive end Brett Keisel, who returned to play a full game after missing five of the past six with hamstring/calf problems. "We still have two division games we need to win. We're not going to celebrate too much because we still have a lot of football to play."
The Steelers have won three straight since New England spanked them at home Nov. 14 and are tied for the second-best record in the AFC.
"I like it but it's all where you finish," linebacker LaMarr Woodley said. "We still have four games to go, we have to close them out. We have to go out there and win them at home."
Pittsburgh has come a long way since NFL commissioner Roger Goodell suspended their quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, for the first four games of the season. The Steelers went 3-0 and then lost their fourth at home to Baltimore.
Roethlisberger beat the Ravens for the sixth straight time to run his personal record against them to 8-2 in 10 starts.
BY THE NUMBERS: 46 - Span of regular-season games in which the Steelers have allowed just one 100-yard rusher. Ray Rice did it last season when he ran for 141 in a Baltimore loss at Heinz Field. Last Sunday, Rice led the Ravens with 32 yards against Pittsburgh's No. 1 rush defense.
LINEUP WATCH: Flozell Adams, who has started all 12 games at right tackle for the Steelers this season, has a high ankle sprain and might not be able to go against Cincinnati Sunday. Adams has been one of the bright spots in their line. Trai Essex likely would replace him.
* QB Ben Roethlisberger has a broken nose to go with his sore right foot. Roethlisberger was hit in the nose by Baltimore's Haloti Ngata on the first series Sunday. He will play Sunday.
* RB Rashard Mendenhall topped 1,000 yards for the second straight season but it was rough going to get there. He carried 19 times for 45 yards vs. Baltimore and now has 1,007 yards. His average dipped below 4.0 for the first time, to 3.9.
* P Daniel Sepulveda is out for the rest of the season with a torn ACL in his right plant foot. It's the third time he's torn the same ACL, starting in college. He also missed the 2008 season because of the same injury.
* K Shaun Suisham is a perfect 6-for-6 on field goals since joining the Steelers, including all five from beyond 40 yards. He also punted three times in Baltimore after Daniel Sepulveda suffered a knee injury.