Steelers Own AFC North Again, Completing Division Sweep

You know what’s still important? Winning your division. The Pittsburgh Steelers dominated their division this year, posting a 6-0 record against their divisional opponents. It was the first time that they have gone undefeated in divisional play since 2008, the last time that they won the Super Bowl. It is the third time that they have swept the AFC North since the division was created during the realignment in 2002.

The AFC North has been swept just five times in its 16-year history, with the Steelers now having done so three times. The Baltimore Ravens swept the division in 2011, and the Cincinnati Bengals were able to do the same in 2009. Three different teams swept the division in a four-year span from 2008 to 2011.

The Steelers have obviously been the best team in the AFC North since its inception, and that includes recent history. They have won the division in three of the past four seasons, and finished second with a playoff berth in the other.

They have dominated, in particular, the Cleveland Browns, which includes an active winning streak of six games going back to the first game of the 2015 season. The Steelers lost to the Browns last in mid-October 2014, the defense gashed for 31 points, the offense scoring only 10.

But the Steelers are 10-1 in their last 11 games against the Browns, or 14-3 dating back to 2010. They are 28-4 against Cleveland since the AFC North was created in 2002, posting a winning percentage of .875, and that does not include a victory in their one playoff game against one another.

As for the Bengals, the Steelers have largely had their way with them as well. They are currently sitting on a regular season five-game winning streak, with a postseason win coming in that span as well. They have only lost back-to-back games to Cincinnati twice during the AFC North era, once in the same season, posting an overall regular season record of 24-8, a winning percentage of .750. They have also beaten the Bengals in the postseason twice since then.

The Ravens are the only team that has really given the Steelers trouble in the division. Prior to opening up a three-game winning streak over the course of the past two seasons, Baltimore beat them three times in a row, including a sweep in 2015, plus a playoff victory that preceded it. In fact, the Steelers are only 16-16 in the regular season against Baltimore in the AFC North era, a .500 winning percentage, though that have a 2-1 advantage in the postseason during that time.

In summation, the Steelers beat the Browns seven of out eight times, the Bengals three out of four time, but the Ravens only half the time. That works out to an overall .750 winning percentage in division play since 2002.

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