NFL Pittsburgh Steelers

Top 10 Players That Will Lead Pittsburgh Steelers to 2013 Playoffs

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10 Players That Will Lead Steelers to 2013 Playoffs

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh had a devastating end to their season in 2012. They finished 8-8 and had to play the last three games of the season without their quarterback and leader, Ben Roethlisberger.

Big Ben suffered an injury that ended his season and forced the Steelers to play three of their most important games of the season without him, going 1-2 in that stretch and missing the playoffs.

Mike Tomlin is one of the most hard-nosed coaches in the league. If anyone can get his team fired up, it's him. He will surely have them competitive once again next season and with many talented guys surrounding Roethlisberger, it won't be difficult.

Being in such a difficult division, however, doesn't help their playoff chances in 2013 as the reigning Super Bowl winner, Baltimore, and one of the best young teams in the league, Cincinnati, reside in the AFC North with the Steelers.

They will need to improve on their league-worst pass defense next year and develop a run game, although they will have to do it with a few inexperienced guys.

The Steelers have won two titles and made five playoff appearance since 2005 and next season should just add to those numbers.

Here are 10 guys that will lead the Pittsburgh Steelers to the 2013 playoffs and maybe even another Super Bowl.

Connor Muldowney is a College Football writer for Follow him on Twitter @Connormuldowney, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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10. Larry Foote

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Larry Foote is a former Super Bowl champion and, in 2012, he recorded the most tackles in his career. He will look to spread his winning ways with his teammates the 12-year vet also recorded a career-high in sacks with four.

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9. Lawrence Timmons

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Lawrence Timmons was one of two linebackers to record 100 tackles or more last season. He also had six sacks and three interceptions on top of his already-impressive numbers.

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8. Cortez Allen

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Cortez Allen is a talented second-year cornerback that looks to bring the Steel City back to Super Bowl superiority. He had 55 tackles and two picks in his sophomore season. Pretty solid for a young corner.

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7. Plaxico Burress

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Plaxico Burress used to be a favorite in Pittsburgh, but then suffered some issues following a Super Bowl victory with the New York Giants that landed him in legal trouble and out of the NFL. He is now back with his first NFL team and the 12-year veteran is capable of big things.

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6. Ryan Clark

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It's not often you see a safety record 100 tackles in a single season, but Ryan Clark did just that. He is a defensive stopper and now in his 12th year, he shows no signs of slowing down.

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5. William Gay

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The Steelers are elated that William Gay fell into their lap this offseason. He was cut from the Arizona Cardinals over a month ago and the young corner is a solid addition to what looks to be an improved secondary. He had 57 tackles and two interceptions last year.

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4. Troy Polamalu

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Troy Polamalu probably wishes he could have the 2012 season back. Having played in just seven games in all last season, the long-haired beast will be back for some aggressive play in 2013, looking to avoud injury and make the Steelers a feared defense once again.

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3. Heath Miller

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Heath Miller's ninth year in the league in 2012 proved to be his best as a pro. He recorded 71 catches for 816 yards and eight touchdowns — all career-highs. He is a force at tight end and one of Roethlisberger's favorite targets.

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2. Antonio Brown

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Anotonio Brown is looking forward to his first season as the Steelers' No. 1 receiver. He is used to being the No. 2 pass-catcher. But with Mike Wallace gone, Brown will look to improve on his 66 catches for 787 yards from last year if they want to make the playoffs.

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1. Ben Roethlisberger

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Ben Roethlisberger suffered a season-ending injury in 2012 that hampered the Steelers' playoff hopes. He had 3,265 yards and 26 touchdowns in only 13 games. He will look to improve on some impressive numbers from 2012 and stay healthy.