The Steelers are a very mediocre 7-7 right now. The only chance they have to make the postseason is to win out; fortunately, they control their own destiny still. The Bengals come into Heinz Field next week and the season hinges on that. If the Steelers win, they stay alive and face Cleveland the next week. If the Bengals win, they get into the playoffs and the Steelers likely watch the playoffs from home.
The game in Dallas highlighted the Steelers' most glaring problem: Without Ike Taylor, they cannot defend the pass. Josh Victorian is not the answer. Robert Golden is not the answer. These guys are undrafted rookies; they can't be counted on to hold off real NFL wide receivers. And yet, with the injuries the Steelers have suffered (more accurately, Ike Taylor's injury), these guys ARE being counted on to do just that.
If Taylor can't go next week, and he hasn't been ruled out, the Steelers may need to find some more help. A.J. Green is coming to town and he'll be a lot tougher to defend that Miles Austin, Cole Beasley, and a nine-fingered Dez Bryant.
The Steelers are not elite on offense, defense, or special teams right now. The defense is having trouble stopping the run and the pass. The offense goes through some startling dry stretches. The Steelers aren't a bad team, but they aren't a good team. They're right where they deserve to be, at .500.
This doesn't look like a team that belongs in the playoffs, and yet, for all intents and purposes, they'll begin the playoffs next week. They have to win to stay alive. Their next loss will end the season, if not officially, then effectively.