ESPN Analyst Mark Schlereth Has Steelers Back In The Playoffs In 2013

Just this past week, Pat Kirwan of CBS Sports surprisingly predicted that the Pittsburgh Steelers would face the Denver Broncos in the AFC Championship game in 2013. On Saturday, Mark Schlereth of ESPN was asked to predict the six teams in the AFC that he thinks will make the playoffs and his choices included a few surprises.

Of the six teams that made the playoffs in 2012, Schlereth has the Broncos, New England Patriots, Houston Texans and Cincinnati Bengals all making it again in 2013. Because of their losses via free agency on the defensive side of the ball, Schlereth thinks the Ravens will not return to the playoffs in 2013, as the target on them will be too tough to overcome. He also thinks the Indianapolis Colts overachieved last season and has them watching the postseason on television alongside the Ravens.

When asked which two teams that didn\’t make the playoffs last year, will this year, the former Broncos lineman chose the Steelers and the Miami Dolphins.

You look at the Pittsburgh Steelers, defensively; I know they\’ve lost some people, but they have Dick LeBeau – defensive coordinator is phenomenal,” said Schlereth. “They\’re always going to be one of those top teams in the league as far as defense is concerned because of the style that they play with, and because they\’re so tied together on that side of the ball.

“Offensive line health, that\’s been the biggest issue and because of the health, Ben Roethlisberger has taken a beating. I think they\’re going to be healthy this year. They\’re back in control of that division, and I think they go to the playoffs.”

His favorable prediction for the Steelers aside, Schlereth has always been pretty objective since becoming an analyst, and it\’s hard to argue with the reasons he gave Saturday for each of the teams that he discussed.

It\’s still way early in the offseason, but it appears some of the more knowledgeable “experts” really believe that the Steelers have a good shot at returning to the playoffs after missing them last year with an 8-8 record.

You can watch the full video of Schlereth\’s picks below:

  • dgh57

    Thanks, Dave for the effort in putting this post and video up but the only problem is it’s all about the NFC!! No talk about the AFC or Steelers.

  • 2443scott

    how hard was it to say ravens wont get back to superbowl how many teams do they next year ….dolphins are a figment of the media they wont make playoffs …every year new englands picked and where are they when its over no where …only reason denvers picked is because peytons there what good did that do them he didnt win …houston should be around so he got that right …bengals be back to there old selfs again…as far as media picks go they always pick like out top 6 teams from year before so how good are their picks….the nfl trys to set who plays who each year to get certain teams a advantage not to mention certain refs fav certain teams as soon as you see whos ref`ing you know your teams in trouble .

  • Gautama Om

    For the most part I think he’s right. Ravens will be and Colts might be out for exactly what he says of them. The MAIN factor for the Steelers contending is how well the new OL performs, OL depth and if they stay healthy…all other factors (and there are a few) are a distant 2nd.

  • PoKey21

    Schelreth is one of the better ones on ESPN to get a vote of confidence from. Anything that someone like Keshawn or Dilfer said isnt worth jack though!

  • charles

    Scott I agree with you more than I can say. The NFL is rigging fantastic finishes. It is why the refs went on strike ….because the NFL was pushing them too far. Last years Super Bowl was “made for tv”, “the battle between the Harbaugh boys” neither the 49ers nor the Ravens were the best team in their conferences. Kinda made me think of the other rigged SB where Gruden was forced to beat Al Davis thereby slapping Davis with his own outcast.

  • Slab

    Oh great. Conspiracy theorists….. Does it really make sense that the NFL would “rig” things so that the Ravens and 49ers would be in the Superbowl? If the NFL owners were going to rig things, are they leaving Jerry Jones out of the loop? The Cowboys, one of the most popular teams in the country, have won one playoff game in the last 16 years…. Cleveland Browns have only made the playoffs once in the last 15 years, are they also “out of the loop”? Who exactly are rigging things? Just some of the owners? It makes absolutely no sense.

  • charles

    Lhag what is your explanation for the sudden rise of fantastic finishes. The NFL loves people like you. I suppose that youthink championship wrestling should be in the Olympics. Heres the thing Lhag, when it is about billions of dollars, more people will sell their soul than not.

  • Slab

    Sudden rise in fantastic finishes? Not familiar with that “stat”. I do know that the NFL has “conspired” to make the game as competitive as possible via things like having the worse teams draft first and play the easiest schedules, institute a payroll cap ceiling and floor, etc. Unless you can tell me who you see as “rigging” the games, I’m going to assume you are one of those that see a conspiracy everywhere- alien abductions, big foot, a plane didn’t take down the twin towers, etc. Keep that tin foil hat on, charles, “the truth is out there”.

  • Slab

    I’m a bit confused by you. You liken the NFL to championship wrestling in that both are fixed and then you say it is because there are billions of dollars at stake. the fact that billions of dollars are at stake in NFL tv deals is exactly why the NFL can’t be like championship wrestling. If the NFL were to be found to fix games, the billions of dollars goes away. over 100 million Americans watch the Superbowl, 20 times the amount that watch wrestling. Every Superbowl is “made for TV” in the respect that the NFL uses the 2 weeks beforehand to highlight story lines. It doesn’t need to rig the game ahead of time. Flacco vs. Kaepernick instead of Brady or Manning vs. Brees or Rodgers? The NFL couldn’t rig something better than that? Giants vs. Pats twice in 5 years? The NFL couldn’t rig something better than that? 2 East coast teams? No Cowboys in 16 years? Eagles in a top 10 TV market- no Superbowl wins, yet the Steelers in a smaller market have 6? Jets in the largest TV market have 1 Superbowl, none in 45 years? Why? Who’s pulling the strings?

  • Slab

    the fact that you don’t think they were the “best” teams and yet they were the teams that played in the Superbowl is actually an argument against it being rigged. Pit 10-6 vs. 11-5 just to have a brother against brother coaching matchup instead of two 13-3 teams against each other with Peyton’s return from neck surgery? Really the best “dream” matchup for the WWF NFL you imagine would have been “America’s team” Cowboys against Tim Tebow and the Jets. 2 huge markets, many great stories. Instead the Cowboys lose their last 2 games against the Saints (in OT) and against the Redskins- where were the paid off refs in those games, and Tebow gets 8 passing attempts on the season behind Sanchez and McElroy. So much for story lines. Maybe it’s just the better run teams that escape injury make the playoffs and then the hot teams win. Sometimes it really is that simple.

    My observation of conspiracy theory guy is that no matter what happens he can find a way to explain it as a conspiracy. Even if it is exactly the opposite of what he predicted.