Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor hasn't yet and doesn't intend to begin contemplating how many wins it might take to make the playoffs.
"That's for y'all to talk about," Taylor said. "We just gotta go out and win."
After winning seven times in their first 11 games, the Steelers have hit their bye week in the thick of a four-team race in the AFC North Division that's so tight the competing teams are separated by mere percentage points. That's just fine with Taylor, who likes the direction in which the Steelers are headed.
"It's looking pretty good," Taylor assessed.
The Steelers have won four of their last five and trail first-place Cincinnati (6-3-1) in the division (the Bengals' winning percentage is .650 and the Steelers' is .636).
Pittsburgh will resume play on Nov. 30 at home against New Orleans.
"Let's see what happens after this Saints game," Taylor cautioned. "But just looking down from a veteran guy to a young guy standpoint, you see it. You see guys in their prime like A.B. (wide receiver Antonio Brown). You still see No. 7 (quarterback Ben Roethlisberger) playing at a high standard. You see the O-line doing what they're doing. You're seeing (running back Le'Veon) Bell come into his own; you see what he does when he gets over 20 carries.
"The 'D' has been holding its own, playing lights out. (Cornerback William) Gay got a touchdown (at Tennessee); three touchdowns between him and 'Mac' (cornerback Brice McCain). That's a lot of points coming from defense."
In addition to what they've been getting from anticipated sources of production, Taylor is optimistic about what the Steelers might yet glean from a couple of rookies beginning to make their mark.
"No. 10, (wide receiver) Martavis (Bryant), he's going to be one of the keys to how far we go," Taylor said. "I truly believe him and Big Dan (nose tackle Daniel McCullers, who made his first career start at Tennessee), they're going to be key. We're going to rely on the veteran guys, guys who are in their prime like No. 84 (Brown). But I think those two young guys, they're going to help us out a lot.
"Big Dan, he's one of the few humans that big, that strong, that athletic who can play football, let alone walk on the earth. There aren't too many guys his size (6-foot-7, 352 pounds) walking the earth. And Martavis, you're seeing what he's doing. He's come into his own, six (receiving) touchdowns in five games. But all he wants to do is work.
"He doesn't say too much. He doesn't pout, doesn't whine. He comes to practice, he does what he needs to do, he tries to get better, and he leaves. That's kind of uncommon for a rookie. And Big Dan, he does the same thing. When you see rookies like that and you see them getting better over the course of weeks, you're like, 'Man, this guy is going to help us.'"
Taylor, out since suffering a fractured forearm on Sept. 21 at Carolina, said he's scheduled to visit team orthopedist Dr. James Bradley on Monday, at which time, Taylor said, he might be given the green light to rejoin the team.
"It's a good feeling," Taylor said. "It's a lot of stuff we've been through in the locker room. This rookie class has been a great rookie class. We all hang out. We all play PlayStation, video games, we go out to eat. And the camaraderie is starting to form right now as a team.
"So yeah, I do feel good."