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Old 01-12-2009, 10:53 AM   #1
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Default Bettis: Steelers will capture AFC title

Bettis: Steelers will capture AFC title
Monday, January 12, 2009

After serving as honorary captain for the Steelers' 35-24 victory over San Diego in the AFC divisional playoffs, Jerome Bettis predicted another victory Sunday over the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship Game.

"Absolutely, I think they'll beat them," Bettis said.

As a former running back, Bettis was naturally most impressed with Willie Parker's 146 yards rushing and two rushing touchdowns against the Chargers.

"They were able to run the football a lot better than they had in the past, and that's what it's going to take to win a championship," Bettis said.

Ranked an uncharacteristic No. 23 in the NFL in rushing during the regular season, the Steelers gained 165 rushing yards against the Chargers, their third-highest total of the season. That's behind the 176 they gained in the regular-season finale against Cleveland, and the 183 they posted in the regular-season opener against Houston.

"I saw it today," Bettis said of the Steelers' running game.

As for Bettis' assessment of the Steelers overall: "Incredible," he said. "Great group of guys. They work hard, and whenever you have hard work, you can compensate for imperfections."

Based on the success of his most recent trip to Heinz Field, Bettis already was contemplating a return visit for Round 3 against the Ravens moments after the Steelers had dispatched San Diego.

"You know it; I gotta be back," Bettis said. "I don't know if I'll be back, but I want to be."

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