Think the Ravens collapse was bad last week. The Steelers almost blew a 24-0 lead. Only horrific clock management and play calling by the Jets saved the hated rival. The 4th and goal from the 2 play call with LT going up the middle would have cause for Jets fans screaming for the head of OC Brian Schottenheimer. Here is the difference between Pitt and the Ravens. The Steelers had 2 fumbled snaps, 2 ints and yet still won . Why? Ben’s 3rd eye in the back of his head. Big Ben avoided sack after sack with his tremendous instincts. The Steelers gambled by passing on the last series and on both crucial plays there were no dropped balls. So now Pittsburgh will easily defeat a vastly inferior Green Bay team and clain the Super Bowl that should have been Baltimore’s. Sorry but that’s the way it is.
Sunday’s AFC Championship Game in Pittsburgh is a must see for football fans who like the game played the way it was meant to be played, by running the football and playing defense. The Jets finished the season as the 4th best team at running the football and the 3rd best at stopping the run while the Steelers boast the #1 ranked rush defense with the more balanced attack on offense.
The Jets and the Steelers met back in week 15 in Pittsburgh.. The Jets saw themselves come out on top 22-17 game that was highlighted by a 97 yard kickoff return for a touchdown by return specialist and wild cat QB Brad Smith. This put the Steelers in must score situation and the Jets were able to hold on for the win. In that week 15 matchup the Steelers offense put up over 100 more total yards then the Jets. A large part of this was due to the Steelers running for 146 yards on 25 carries bringing it to almost 6 yds per carry on the day. If the Jets want to experience dejavu and leave Pittsburgh as winners on Sunday the defense for the Jets will have to do better.
Here are the key matchups:
D’Brickashaw Ferguson VS. James Harrison
In order for the Jets to be successful Mark Sanchez has to be given enough time in the pocket to look downfield to his receivers without having to worry about DEs and LBs breathing down his neck. In last week’s win VS New England and the win in week 15 in Pittsburgh, Sanchez was sacked but once…once…that’s it. James Harrison absolutely had his way last week with the Ravens LT Michael Oher and recorded three sacks on the game. This is a great matchup and either team could make a case for having the edge here.
Jets corners VS Steelers WRs
Two words, Revis Island. The Steelers might as well tell whoever they decide to put on the outside with Revis to keep their head up and be proud if they catch a ball because they’ll only get one or two. Cromartie on the other hand had difficulty covering speedster Mike Wallace in the teams first matchup. Wallace was targeted 10 times and caught 7 of those balls for 102 yards. It may have been possible that Wallace’s speed took Cromartie by surprise however it won’t this time around. I expect Cromartie to play closer to the line and use his size and strength to bump Wallace slowing down his release and giving time for the defensive line of the jets to flush out Roethlisberger. I give the edge to the Jets here.
Jets RBs VS Steelers D
Everyone is well aware that the Pittsburgh Steelers defense is ridiculously stingy against the run but don’t count out the jets chances here either. The Steelers only gave up about 62 yards per game to opponents on the ground during the season but they did surrender 106 yards to the Jets in their first matchup. 106 being the highest total of any opponent the Steelers played all season. If the Jets can keep the chains moving on the ground I see no reason they can’t control the clock and play the type of game that fits them best. Look for Ladainian Tomlinson to step up in his quest for a Super Bowl victory.
There are plenty of sub plots to this game like Santonio Holmes VS his old team and what effect will Troy Polamalu have, as he missed the last contest. What it’s really going to come down to is what team comes out with the controlled intensity needed for a game of this magnitude. Rex Ryan has this team believing it can not be beat. My prediction… Jets 24 Steelers 20. I’m a believer!!!
26 years ago Bob Irsay broke my heart when he hijacked the Colts to Indy. pardon me if I say it sickens me to see this team do well. The Jets seemed to get their at 17-6 and then virtually shut down. Revis was revis but I think I’d rather have the rest of the Ravens secondary.
Mark Sanchez was pretty impressive. Had he not bolted to the pros this year, Pete Carroll would probably still be at USC.
I wonder what difference having Braylon Edwards would have made for the ravens.
At this point all that is left for me this season is to root against the Colts.
—The shutdown corner Darrelle Revis will allow the Jets to keep Reggie Wayne in check and cut off half the field #18 can throw to.
—The horrendous running attack of the Colts will allow the Jets to keep Jim Leonhard in pass coverage for most of the game.
—Look for jailbreak rushes from the Jets that will keep Peyton on his heels.
—Sanchez will do just enough to put some points on the board and the defense will do the rest.
—What irony!! the Colts helped to create the Jets’ monster by laying down against them and basically forfeiting the game.
Jets 21 Colts 17
Some observations on Sunday’s great victory:
There are obviously some secondary problems on this team or Phil Rivers just was incredible.
Hauschka’s kickoffs are superb.
Is it me or is Willis outplaying Ray Rice?
How in the world could Mark Clayton drop that pass in the 4th quarter.
On McGahee’s 2nd TD run Jared Gaither flattened his man like a pancake.
Look out for the Jets–Rex Ryan has really motivated that team.
Flacco was great—-again!!!
Is it me or does a 6’5″ receiver always have an advantage on a 5’9″ –6″ corner?
Remember Cam Cameron helped develop Phil Rivers into a 90 million dollar QB.
Watching Philip Rivers play jogs my memory back to Nov 17 2001 when Shaun Hill and Maryland bested Rivers and NC State 23-19 with hill throwing a last second TD pass to Gulian Gary
Speaking of Shaun Hill, the 49ers behind the leadership of Hill is now 2-0
Rex Ryan and his rookie QB phenom, Mark Sanchez, journey into the Raven’s home tonight for the 2nd and final home pre-season game for the Ravens tonight. It’s exhibition football so we will just watch and learn. The highlight of the game tonight should be the into of the Ravens’ defense and thus Ray’s first dance of the year.
As of now Darrius has been projected as low as the 7th pick by the Oakland Raiders. Unless the Jets decide to try to move up and select QB1 from USC, Mark Sanchez–I believe the Jets will grab the 4.3 speedster with the 17th pick. Kevin Barnes and Jamie Thomas should be t least 2 more Terrapins drafted this weekend.