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Steelers In AFC North Driver's Seat

With the Steelers' 13-10 win over the Ravens on Sunday night in Baltimore, Pittsburgh now finds itself in a familiar position as the final weeks of the NFL's regular season wind down: on top of the AFC North division.

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As Ed Bouchette points out in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette this morning, the Steelers are a near lock to win the division when they hold a lead this late in the season, as they do right now.

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Give the Steelers a division lead this late in the season and they pull on the red Nike shirts and make like Tiger Woods used to on a Sunday. They have, in fact, blown fewer leads this late in the season than anyone -- not one since Bill Cowher took over as their coach in 1992 and Mike Tomlin followed in 2007.

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The Steelers have come from behind to win division titles and they've followed an unprecedented path to win a Super Bowl, but when they've taken a lead this late in the season, they've never lost a division title, whether they competed in the six-team AFC Central or the current four-team AFC North over the past 18 seasons.

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Since Cowher arrived in 1992, Pittsburgh has gone onto win its division 10 times when leading at this point, so history is certainly on the Steelers' side as they prepare for the playoffs.

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