But they didn't, and it has.
The Steelers are OK with that.
"I wish we could have been restin', chillin'," linebacker Larry Foote said. "But if you had told me in the offseason you're going to be 11-4 going into the last week I'd take it any day.
"The good thing is we need to keep the temperature up, we need the win for the bye. So there's no relaxing, no guys taking any rest. We're going to go out there and give it our best shot."
The Steelers will do that against the Browns and hope the Bengals can do it to the Ravens.
That's all they can do entering Week 17.
"You can't live life with regrets," offensive tackle Max Starks said. "The biggest thing is we've played consistently throughout this year, fought hard and put ourselves in a position to be in the postseason. That's the most important thing.
"Where we fall in the postseason really doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things. Just having the opportunity, being one of six, is really all we need."
Not that they'd turn down home field if it works out that way.
"It is a big deal," defensive end Brett Keisel insisted. "We love playing at Heinz Field. We finished 7-1 at Heinz Field and a lot of that has to do with our fans and the atmosphere they create during the game.
"We would love to be able to play in front of them again."
The question is, will they?
Keisel, Foote and Starks contemplated the possibilities in advance of Sunday's impending showdowns in Ohio:
Pittsburgh-Cleveland: "We just need to go up there and play our kind of ball. They're going to have to run the ball a lot with Peyton [Hillis]. He's been running the ball really well. So that's going to be the biggest thing, hopefully, shutting him down. I'm sure they're going to watch our tape and see we've got some chinks in our chain as far as run defense that we need to get corrected if we want to get where we want to go."
Baltimore-Cincinnati: "Cincinnati's going to be fired up and ready to play. They've got a lot on the line, too, a chance to make the playoffs. Cincinnati can get that win and, hopefully, we can get that win, too."
Pittsburgh-Cleveland: "We know they have a good defense, they've been Top 10 all year. They're playing better with [Seneca] Wallace in there at quarterback. The running back looks like he's getting going. It's going to be a battle. I know those guys aren't going to lay down. New coaching staff, a lot of young players, that Cleveland-Pittsburgh rivalry; they're a defensive team that can run the ball. They're going to try to win."
Baltimore-Cincinnati: "It would be awesome to see three teams in the AFC North (in the playoffs) but it's going to be what it's going to be. If they stop Ray Rice, the record shows when you contain him they lose a lot. So if they can smash the run and [Andy] Dalton keeps playing the way he's been playing all year, if they doesn't beat themselves -- don't make mistakes, turnovers, and you know Baltimore can cause that -- they have a good chance of winning."
Pittsburgh-Cleveland: "Really, the biggest thing is going to be time of possession, whichever team can be more efficient holding the ball and runs better. The Browns finally got Peyton Hillis healthy so that's going to be a challenge. And for us we need to continue to be consistent with our run game as well."
Baltimore-Cincinnati: "For Cincinnati, I think it'll come down to playing offense the same way they have been and making sure their defense continues being opportunistic and applying pressure. They have a good defensive front, they can apply pressure. If the Bengals apply pressure to Joe Flacco they can be in a position where they can win at home."