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Redskins vs. Steelers: Suddenly, Steelers in good shape in AFC North

It may have taken a Ravens bye week and a game featuring some ugly, ugly uniforms, but with Week 8 nearly over, the AFC North is finally beginning to make sense again. In mid-October, the Steelers were 2-3 and had been decimated by injuries, and it looked like their age might finally be catching up with them. And, even if that weren't the case, they'd given the Ravens such a head start that it looked like it might not matter.

That was so two weeks ago. Now, the Ravens are coming off a blowout loss and a bye week (and are now dealing with some fairly serious injury issues of their own, with Lardarius Webb and Ray Lewis out for the rest of the season), and the Steelers, thanks in part to a stout defense and a revamped rushing attack now led by Jonathan Dwyer, have won two straight and are just one game back in the AFC North. In a 27-12 win over the Redskins, the Steelers held Robert Griffin III in check, limiting him to a pedestrian 177 yards through the air and only allowing him to rush for eight yards. Meanwhile, Dwyer put up his second straight 100-yard rushing game, and Ben Roethlisberger threw three touchdown passes.

The Steelers are now 4-3, one game back of Baltimore. An upcoming matchup against the Giants will be a big test, but if the Steelers can win there and in a Week 10 matchup against a weak Chiefs team, they'll be in great shape heading into a Week 11 showdown against the Ravens at Heinz Field. There are still doubts about the Steelers, of course, but it's a wonder what two wins can do at this relatively early point in the season.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.