While teams like the Carolina Panthers, New England Patriots, and Cincinnati Bengals have been in the playoff discussion for some time, the Pittsburgh Steelers have quietly inserted themselves into the conversation.
If you ask the former Steelers legend Terry Bradshaw what he thinks about his former team’s chances are of going all the way, he’s more than willing to share his opinion.
“Pittsburgh will go to the Super Bowl and they will win the Super Bowl,” the NFL On Fox analyst said Sunday afternoon via WPXI News.
The former Steeler quarterback went on to say Ben Roethlisberger would be his pick for the league’s Most Valuable Player if he hadn’t missed four games earlier in the season due to injuries.
If Bradshaw had made these statements over a month ago, it would have been easy to laugh them off and call him a homer.
But after going 4-4 through the first half of the season, the Steelers have won five of their last six, including a come-from-behind 34-27 win over the Denver Broncos on Sunday. They’ve won three in a row, with two of those victories coming over playoff teams. If the playoffs started today, Pittsburgh would be the sixth seed in the AFC.
Despite a season-ending knee injury to Le’Veon Bell, the Steelers have put on an offensive clinic during their hot streak. They scored 38 against the Raiders, 30 against the Browns, 30 in a loss to Seattle, 45 against Indianapolis, 33 against Cincinnati, and 34 against a top-rated Broncos defense.
Roethlisberger and receivers Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant need to keep up the impressive numbers to make up for a defense that won’t be confused with the Steel Curtain of Bradshaw’s day. They currently rank 11th in points allowed (20.5 per game), 24th in yards given up per game (368.6), and are 31st in passing yards, (279.1 a game).
Bradshaw may be remembering the 2005 Steelers, who won the Super Bowl after entering the postseason as the No. 6 seed. Can history repeat itself this season?
Even if the Carolina Panthers finish the regular season undefeated, a Super Bowl victory isn’t guaranteed (just ask the 2007 New England Patriots). Speaking of New England, their 12-2 record is remarkable considering all the injuries they’ve dealt with throughout the season.
Now that quarterback Andy Dalton is out with a fractured thumb, the Cincinnati Bengals have to ride the arm of second-year backup AJ McCarron, who has just one NFL start under his belt.
So while nothing is guaranteed, there is no doubt the Steelers have a shot at bringing home another Lombardi Trophy to the Steel City.
If they remain hot and pull off another miracle, people will be calling Bradshaw a prophet, not a homer.