The Steelers are somewhere I never expected them to be six weeks ago: at the top of the AFC North.
Now having said that, they have only played two teams this season that can be considered in contention for the AFC championship -- Ravens and Texans -- and lost to both. The Ravens humiliated them 35 to 7...in Pittsburgh no less.
Moreover, they barely squeaked by the 0-and-7 Colts, and the 2-and-5 Jaguars, winning those games by a combined total of 7 measly points.
As Steelers coach Mike Tomlin is quick to point out, a win doesn't need to be pretty to count.
I wish I could feel better about the Steelers Super Bowl chances than I did six weeks ago, but I don't. The fact they are taking a three-game winning streak into Sunday's game doesn't inspire much confidence in me. I wish it did.
No, they will face the 5-and-1 Patriots this week. (Have I ever mentioned just how much I despise the Patriots?)
Simply put: Brady and company have the Steelers' number. The Patriots have been victorious in six of their past seven meetings with Pittsburgh.
Of course, any team can beat any other team on any given day, but the chances of a beat-up Steelers' team besting a well-rested Patriots team coming off its Bye week are slim to almost unimaginable.
Going up against the NFL's best offense, the Steelers D will be without James Harrison and Aaron Smith -- two key contributors to its defensive prowess. Nose tackle Chris Hoke is out as well. James Farrior may not play either.
On the other side of the ball, starting guard Doug Legursky won't suit up. The starting center Maurkice Pouncey is nursing an elbow injury. He is scheduled to play, but won't be at the top of his game. Triple-threat wide receiver Hines Ward may not play either due to an ankle injury.
That the Steelers have home-field advantage in Sunday's game won't much matter either; the Patriots spank them there, too.
The next two games will determine Pittsburgh's Super Bowl probabilities. They need to beat the Patriots this week and the Ravens the following Sunday in Baltimore. Actually a win against Baltimore will do more to advance the Steelers to the playoffs, but in terms of building confidence and establishing conference domination, they need to win both.
I hope the headline of Monday's blog is "Steelers Thrash the Despicable Patriots!"
A guy can hope can't he?