The reality presented by the NFL is the most exciting story they can sell, but is not necessarily reality.
The Steelers finished 8-8 and could have made the playoffs. Had they made the playoffs, the story would have been: "This is a scary team. They finished the season on a roll and had they gotten a few more bounces could have won their division and been a home team in the playoffs. No team wants to face the Steelers."
Had they gotten a few more bounces along the way, they could have easily finished with say 11 or so wins. Realistically, they could have beaten Oakland, Baltimore (second game), Minny, Miami. Had their final record been 11-5, the story would have been "Sure this team won a division, but they just are not that good. They easily could have lost a few of the games they won, and are ripe for an upset, even at home."
So back to the original question...they can play with any team in the AFC. They may need a bounce or two, or they can be stung by a bounce or two, but this team is on level to compete with anyone.