Brett Keisel: Pittsburgh Steelers plan to win AFC North


Ben Roethlisberger's recent surgery only reinforced the conventional wisdom surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers these days: It's looking like a season with low expectations.

The Baltimore Ravens are the defending Super Bowl champions. The Cincinnati Bengals perhaps are the AFC's trendiest team.

The Steelers are aware of what the outside world is saying, but their expectations haven't changed. Defensive lineman Brett Keisel believes the team can get back to the Super Bowl.

"People can say and believe what they want to believe," Keisel told Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Monday. "But in this locker room, we feel we have the team and the talent to get back and our first goal is to get back and win our division. Good things have happened around here when we won our division ... that's our mentality." 

As it should be. It all comes back to Roethlisberger, who might be the most underrated player of his generation. The defense is shifting gears, but it still ranked first in yards allowed and sixth in points allowed last year.

It feels weird to call the Steelers a potential "surprise" team, but they were one of my answers last week on our ATL Debate Club Podcasts when we looked at teams set to bounce back in 2013.

It's not like the cupboard is bare here. The offensive line, on paper, is set up better than it has been in years. The defense has success in its DNA.

There is a far different perception of the Steelers this season just because they lost five games of three points or less last season. But I don't see any reason why they aren't Super Bowl contenders, just like normal.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.