Parity in AFC keeps hopes alive in division

The Bengals and Steelers have had disappointing starts to the season. But they have as good of a chance as anyone in the AFC to get to the playoffs.

After the Chargers lost on Monday night, there are only two teams (Ravens and Texans) who have winning records in the 16-team AFC. I'm not sure if that's a sign of parity or just mediocre play in the first six weeks of the season.

As a result, the Bengals (3-3) and Steelers (2-3) remain in what has become a crowded second tier in the conference. Even the Browns (1-5) could creep into contention with a couple more wins. That's how crazy this season has been.

"We're still in it right now," Bengals defensive tackle Domata Peko told the team's official website. "We have to go out [against the Steelers] and get this win. It's a very important week, and every time we have the black and yellow, it’s a huge game for us. I know it's going to be really loud here. Sunday night game. We're going to bring our 'A' game. We can't be half-stepping around here. We know that, and we're going to fix it."

A couple of games separate the division-leading Ravens (5-1) from the Bengals and Steelers. But, based on the injuries on the Ravens' defense, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh might have gained renewed hopes of catching Baltimore.