The New York Jets (11-5) face the Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4) in a game sure to be filled with fireworks this Sunday at 6:30 PM on CBS. This one is for all the AFC marbles and a shot at going to Super Bowl 45. The Jets will be coming to Heinz Field with immense confidence after putting on an amazing show against the New England Patriots last week. The Steelers lost their regular season meeting with the Jets 22-17, but they have a much stronger defense than New England and Strong Safety Troy Polamalu will be on the field for this game (he was out for the December 19 loss).
Momentum seems to favor the Jets, and at times in the playoffs the offense displayed the kind of tenacity and ability that made it seem as if they could score at will. The defense has also been a playoff juggernaut for the Jets. Last week the Jets defense sacked Tom Brady 5 times and managed an interception against the leading MVP candidate.
The Steelers entered the playoffs as the NFL leader on defense in fewest points allowed and fewest rushing yards given up. They also ranked second in the league in total yards. The team's 48 total sacks was good enough to lead the league there as well. They only allowed the Baltimore Ravens a total of 35 rushing yards last week, and they are the team that's best suited to stop LaDainian Tomlinson from running wild.
Mark Sanchez has shown amazing poise and performed incredibly through the first two playoff games, but he's still young and relatively inexperienced. Ben Roethlisberger is a two-time Super Bowl winner, and he'll be chomping at the bit to get a third chance to win it all. The big difference between the two is the fact that Roethlisberger has still been able to win despite being sacked 6 times for a total loss of 34 yards while Sanchez has only been sacked once for a 5-yard loss.
This game is going to be a true slugfest with the temperature at game time set to be in the teens. The point total for both teams might also be in the teens. The Steelers are more built for the passing game while the Jets have the best runners. Special teams and defense could play a huge role, and the best defense here is Pittsburgh. Add the home field advantage factor and it's hard to bet against the Steelers. The Steelers should stop the Jets cold and finally slow down LT's rampant running. They'll dominate from the opening drive and win by at least 10.
Odds and props for this game can be found at Wagerweb Sportsbook.