In spite of the fact that they came out of the first two games of the regular season without recording a victory, the Pittsburgh Steelers still find themselves just a half-game back for the division lead in the AFC North following last night’s victory, and that is in a division in which every team is .500 or better.
That certainly wouldn’t seem to be the case if judged by the perennial overreactions that we see from certain segments of the fanbase—and frankly, from ‘professional’ media personalities as well—but that is where we stand. At 1-1-1 through three games, the Steelers are only half a win behind two teams for the very early division lead.
In other words, they could be in sole possession of the best record in the AFC North—or at least tied—by the end of next week. They happen to play one of those two teams in Week Four, so they can really help to take care of that business themselves.
The Baltimore Ravens and the Cincinnati Bengals are both currently 2-1, the latter holding a head-to-head victory over the former. The Steelers will play the Ravens next week, who are coming off a victory over the Denver Broncos, a team that is just barely 1-2 at the moment.
The Bengals, in the meantime, are coming off a 31-21 loss to the Carolina Panthers and now head to Georgia to face an annoyed Atlanta Falcons team that is sitting at 1-2 with losses to the Philadelphia Eagles and the New Orleans Saints. Atlanta has lost several defensive starters to injury already this year, but the offense is averaging nearly 27 points per game, with rookie wide receiver Calvin Ridley heating up.
As for the Cleveland Browns, they’re still basking in the afterglow of their first victory in 635 days, Baker Mayfield entering the game to come back against fellow rookie quarterback Sam Darnold and the New York Jets. Mayfield will be the team’s starter going forward.
The Browns had next out west to face the Oakland Raiders, who under Jon Gruden have been somewhat hapless this year, struggling to get out of their own way. Gruden has bemoaned the difficulty of finding a quality pass-rusher after trading Khalil Mack, who has as many sacks as the entirety of his former team.
Overall, the division is actually among the best off in the league, the only one in the NFL to have no teams with a losing record. The NFC South, however, is the only division to have three teams with a winning record. There are two divisions in which three teams have losing records.