Re: Next Year
The 2013 Steelers will be fine. 10-6 or better. How much better depends on how they fix their obvious deficiencies and/or how much fire and focus they decide to play with.
As succinctly as possible:
Despite injuries, a conflict with the OC and a terrible end to the year, Big Ben still sported a 3-to-1 TD/INT ratio. If not for those terrible picks vs. CIN and DAL it would have been 4-to-1.
Not adjusting for ST TD's, only five teams allowed fewers points than the Steelers. Ergo, the D is still clicking and not a problem.
SIX losses of 6 or fewer points... I mean... even after factoring in injuries that's just insane and unlikely to happen again.
There are only four things to be wary of come 2013: (of which at least one or two can be fixed)
The ST's cost the Steelers at least two games (TEN and BAL) and are unlikely to be fixed.
Likewise, the OL continues to be an achilles heel. The team can still win with a patchwork one, but, barring massive improvement, there will be games that frustrate even the most serene fan.
Gotta figure out the run game.
Need a viable backup QB. Big Ben is entering the old Dan Marino phase of his career and will miss 2-4 games a year. Must prepare as such.
Can't wait for September.