The Pittsburgh Steelers are fortunate to be 4-4 considering the toll injuries have taken on their roster. Cornerback Antwon Blake is confident the second half is going to be a lot better, even with Le'Veon Bell lost for the season.
Bell's absence means the Steelers will have just 16 totals snaps with their four best offensive weapons -- Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant, and Bell -- on the field at once in 2015, according to NFL.com. Sunday's loss to Cincinnati put Pittsburgh 3 1/2 games back in the division, but Blake believes the Steelers will make the playoffs.
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"I can't see why we can't go undefeated the rest of the way out," Blake told ESPN.com's Jeremy Fowler.
DeAngelo Williams filled it capably during Bell's two-game suspension at the start of the season, but going 8-0 might still be a reach, mainly because of the tough slate of games that lies ahead. The surprising Oakland Raiders (4-4) come to town this weekend, and Pittsburgh will also play Seattle, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, and Denver over a four-game stretch beginning in Week 12.
The likely best-case scenario is a 6-2 finish, which would put the Steelers at 10-6 and in good position for a Wild Card spot. Anything worse than that, and they could be on the outside looking in come January.