Steelers Versus Broncos In The AFC Championship Game? Pat Kirwan Thinks It\’s Possible

I have forever been a fan of the work of Pat Kirwan, who once served in the front office for the New York Jets and as an NFL scout prior to that, but even I was a little shocked to read that his early 2013 NFL season predictions include the Pittsburgh Steelers squaring off against the Denver Broncos in the 2013 AFC Championship Game.

Kirwan wrote on CBS Sports Monday: “Pittsburgh is coming off an 8-8 season and someone mistakenly ranked Ben Roethlisberger 61st on the NFL top 100 list. Bill Cowher warned me that the poor top-100 ranking will motivate Big Ben this season. He was also quick to point out that Roethlisberger was on his way to a great season before being injured.”

Kirwan does go on to say he thinks Denver will ultimately face the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XLVIII, but you more than likely won\’t see any analyst predict the Steelers will even make it that far moving forward.

Kirwan also writes that he thinks rookie running backs will play a big role in getting his projected final four teams deep into the playoffs and that of course includes Steelers second-round draft pick Le\’Veon Bell, who is expected to become the every-down running back at some point in 2013, if not by the start of it.

Assuming Kirwan thinks the Broncos will host the Steelers in the AFC title game, that would mean safety Ryan Clark would be more than likely be forced to miss the game due to his sickle-cell trait. If that were indeed to come to fruition, the Steelers would more than likely have to turn to either Robert Golden or fourth-round draft pick Shamarko Thomas to fill Clark\’s shoes, which would be no small task against Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning.

Predictions in early June are what they are, but being as the Steelers are currently 25-to-1 odds to win the Super Bowl this year, Kirwan certainly has effectively called his shot early in the offseason.

  • steeltown

    One thing that cant be ignored is over the yrs the Steelers always bounce back from a down season, whether it means AFC Championship or not remains to be seen, but I do expect improvement in the win/loss catigory

  • Fu-Schnickens

    Yep, there has sure been PLENTY of media and analyst fodder to motivate not only Ben but the whole team to play with a new purpose this year.

  • Mike.H

    GOOD NEWS IS, this time around, We have a new name subbing for our safty; the old one signed with another team.

  • Mike.H

    assuming we play in Denver that is. If it’s @Pittsburgh then… Ryan Clark can play.

  • Shea Fahr

    It would be fitting if Denver has to come to Pittsburgh this time.

  • dgh57

    I agree, I’m tired of having to always play the Broncos on their turf!!

  • westcoasteeler

    …AND the disconnect that permeated the locker room last year seams to have reversed itself with its acknowledgement. It’s been replaced with focus.
    The standard is the standard.

  • Randy Neff

    The Steelers were a -23 in the turnovers the past two years. Teams generally don’t go minus double digits 3 years in a row. In fact,only one team since free agency started in 94, have done it 3 times in a row. It’s not just skill involved here. Even those awful Oakland teams of the past decade didn’t do it. Should be a plus for the Steelers this season.

    Denver was a -1 last year. NE has gone plus 25, 17, 28, the last three years. That’s only happened twice in the same time frame and no team has done it four years consecutively. The Brady led NE teams haven’t put up plus doubles inTO’s in 2004-6, 08-09. No team has ever gone +20 two years in a row. They are due to fall back this year.

    You won’t ever hear experts talk about these numbers, but they must be considered.

  • Ahmad

    Like Han Solo said never tell me the odds.

  • itsgonnalast

    I feel like the AFC North is completely up for grabs this year. There’s been so much turnover on the rosters of the Steelers and Ravens, and meanwhile the Browns and Bengals have additional high-potential talent.

  • Shea Fahr

    HA! Right on!

  • Pete

    The Steelers have a fairly easy schedule this season. The question is whether they really are a good football team. If they are, they beat all the loser teams (8 games) and win at least 2 from from the strong teams (8 games). Is the youth of the O line a blessing or a curse? Do the changes on D sort themselves out and the old reliable Steeler D keeps chugging along or are they in for some problems? Do the receivers and backs put up big numbers along with Ben? There are a number of questions entering this season but the Steelers better show me some love come the start of the regular season. I can accept it if they lose to the strong teams like the Ravens and don’t get blown out of any game. But I’ll be throwing things if they continue to under-perform against the bottom dwellers.