Out of all the teams I "disrespected" with a middle of the road ranking, this is the one I think has the best chance to finish in the playoffs this year. They have a strong history of bouncing back after a below average season, but they are getting older and just don't seem to have the talent they used to have on both sides of the ball to keep things going strong.
The AFC North is one of the strongest divisions in football right now, so that is a major reason why I have the Steelers struggling again this year. The Cincinnati Bengals look, on paper anyway, to be a solid playoff team in 2013 and we'll have to keep the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens in the mix to return to the playoffs as well (for now).
16. Pittsburgh Steelers (2012 Record: 8-8)
Mediocrity can be annoying as hell, just look back to 2006-2009. Nothing hurts worse to be middle of the road talent-wise, yet still have a fanbase expecting championships. The Steelers are good enough to keep the mediocrity alive, so either they have to grind their way back into the top echelon of teams or they need to blow it up and start over with a really bad season.
The one thing they do well is draft high character players, which enables this franchise to stay competitive. Ownership really does matter in this league. They addressed their needs fairly well, but their success hinges on Ben Roethlisberger and their offense.
Part of me wishes the 49ers had won the Super Bowl, so Steeler fans wouldn't be everywhere shouting "SIXBURGH" to anyone who criticizes their team, but then I remembered I live in Northern California and 49er fans absolutely needed to be humbled.