Pittsburgh Steelers Take On New York Jets In AFC Championship Game

With the New York Jets’ upset of the New England Patriots, it spelled some good news for the Pittsburgh Steelers, that news being the fact that they get to play another AFC Championship game at home, at Heinz Field. With the energy the crowd there showed against the Baltimore Ravens, that could very well be the deciding factor of this game.

Of course, there are some factors besides the crowd that may or may not play into the outcome of the game: you know, playcalling, match-ups, turnovers, penalties, etc. All that frivolous stuff. But, what the heck? Let’s take a look at some of those things anyway.

It’s true that the Steelers lost to the Jets in the regular season, but it’s also true that the Pittsburgh team was missing two key components – Heath Miller and Troy Polamalu. Both of them could end up being the X-Factors of this game, both can make plays when called upon, and if Matt Spaeth was getting in on the action in the first game, one can only assume that Miller will do even better.

The Steelers receiving corps is going to have their hands full with the Jets defensive backs, where both Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie are playing really good football. But, that also works when you reverse the order. The Steelers receivers are no slouches and Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown, and Emmanuel Sanders have speed that is absolutely killer and will play an integral part in the Steelers offense, as evidenced by last week’s game against the Baltimore Ravens.

Wallace and Revis are going to be going head to head, so don’t expect the Ole Miss alumni to have a breakout playoff performance in this one, Cromartie is figured to be matched against either Sanders or Brown, leaving old reliable Hines Ward to run against the Jets nickel. This is an obvious mismatch, and it’s really the only option the Jets have. Revis has to cover Wallace, or Wallace is going to defile the Jets defense.

Speaking of Wide Receivers, if Bryant McFadden can’t return from his hip injury, another key matchup will be watching William Gay and Braylon Edwards playing against eachother. The benefit the Steelers have in this category is the fact that both Edwards and Santonio Holmes are familiar faces to Pittsburgh. Edwards from his time with the Cleveland Browns, and Holmes from his years with the Steelers.

Against the Patriots, both Shonn Green and LaDainian Tomlinson averaged over four yards a carry, don’t expect them to repeat that in the Championship game against the league’s number one rushing defense. In fact, don’t expect to see much running from the Jets at all. After Mark Sanchez’s three touchdown performance, Rex Ryan is going to be riding high on his quarterback.

And that’s just what the Steelers want.

Mark Sanchez is not a good quarterback. He may develop into one at some point in his career, but, to put it in perspective – Joe Flacco is a good quarterback, and the Steelers defense made him look like a pee-wee player in the divisional round of the playoffs. Mark Sanchez did not have a good game against the Steelers in their first meeting, and only managed to find the end zone on a bootleg rushing touchdown, that Dick LeBeau and the defense will be wary of this time around, making sure they set the edge against the Jets offense.

So many times when talking about quarterback duels, you’ll hear that for a team to have a chance X quarterback is going to have to outperform Y quarterback. Well, I hate using the cliche, but it rings true in this one. The Jets running game is going to get them nowhere, and thus the Sanchize is going to have to outperform Ben Roethlisberger, which, quite frankly would be the surprise of the playoffs in my eyes.

The Steelers defense will see a lot of familiar plays this weekend, the same plays they saw last weekend. There will be a lot of screens to the New York running backs, especially Tomlinson – who has long proved that he is one of the most dangerous backs in history off of the screen pass.

The Jets offensive line is going to be vital to their success, because they have got to keep James Harrison, LaMarr Woodley, Lawrence Timmons, and company off of their quarterback, or it’s going to be a long game for the Jets, and a happy one for the Steelers and their fans.

The key to winning this one is protecting the ball, if the Steelers don’t play through the whistle and allow a bonehead play like the Corey Redding touchdown against Baltimore, then it could spell their doom.

My Prediction:

Steelers 20 Jets 10

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~ by Steel Hurtin on January 17, 2011.

One Response to “Pittsburgh Steelers Take On New York Jets In AFC Championship Game”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by KTRhoops. KTRhoops said: Pittsburgh Steelers Take On New York Jets In AFC Championship Game: http://t.co/ixtUsOu […]

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