Ben Roethlisberger Pittsburgh Steelers
Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrates after James Conner scores a touchdown during the second quarter of the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on October 14, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers (3-2-1) managed to move into first place in the AFC North without even playing in Week 7. Losses by the Baltimore Ravens (4-3) and Cincinnati Bengals (4-3) put both teams behind the defending divisional champions as they watched from home during their bye.

Cincinnati is on a two-game losing streak, being blown out by the Kansas City Chiefs (6-1) after losing at home to Pittsburgh in Week 6. Baltimore lost at home to the New Orleans Saints (5-1) Sunday when Justin Tucker missed an extra point with 24 seconds left in regulation that would’ve likely sent the game into overtime.

Baltimore won in Pittsburgh a few weeks ago, but they are technically in third place. The Bengals currently own the tiebreaker over the Ravens because of their Week 2 win over Baltimore in Cincinnati.

The Cleveland Browns (2-4-1) suffered their second overtime loss of the season Sunday. They still have sole possession of last place and are probably the only team in the division that isn’t a playoff contender.

The Steelers are in the driver’s seat of the AFC North, despite a slow start to the season. Pittsburgh tied Cleveland in the season opener and was beaten Kansas City when they played their first home game in Week 2. The Steelers didn't move above .500 for the first time this season until they recorded consecutive wins over the Atlanta Falcons (2-4) and Bengals in Week 6 and Week 7.

Pittsburgh’s early season struggles on the field were matched by all the drama that surrounded the team off the field. The Le’Veon Bell saga remains an issue as the Steelers wait on the return of their star running back. It had been reported that Bell would finally report to Pittsburgh during the bye week, but the Steelers still don’t know when the All-Pro will conclude his holdout.

Steelers’ owner Art Rooney II told NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport that he doesn’t expect to trade Bell before the Oct. 30 trade deadline. There have been rumors that Pittsburgh is exploring trade possibilities for Bell, though no team has matched their reported asking price of an NFL player and a second-round draft pick.

Week 8 will continue a pivotal part of Pittsburgh’s schedule. The Steelers will host the Browns, followed by a visit to Baltimore in Week 9 to conclude a string of three straight games against AFC North opponents.

Pittsburgh hosts the Carolina Panthers in Week 10. Six of their final nine games will come against teams that currently have at least four wins.