I’ll admit Rex Ryan is far from the court jester that some of us (myself included) made him out to be. For all of the talk that he’s done, his New York Jets have cashed the checks that his mouth has written. He’s taken out Peyton Manning and Tom Brady in successive weeks. Today they go after Big Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
In my opinion Mike Tomlin has done the most impressive coaching job this season. As Roethlisberger served a four-game suspension the Steelers went 3-1 during that stretch. The Steelers fought tooth and nail with the Baltimore Ravens for the AFC North title and finally disposed of their arch nemesis in last week’s Divisional Round. In Week 15 the Jets came into Heinz Field and handled the Steelers 22-17.
What gives today?
The Jets Offense Must:
- Use their running game to keep the Steelers blitz at bay
- Not allow Mark Sanchez to stray from the game plan
- Use the size of Braylon Edwards, Jericho Cotchery and Santonio Holmes to their advantage
- If nothing’s there, throw it away
The Jets Defense Must:
- Not allow Roethlisberger to extend the play with his scrambling ability
- Take away Rashard Mendenhall
- Watch Hines Ward in underneath coverage – he’s slow, but crafty
- Keep Mike Wallace in front of them
The Steelers Offense Must:
- Have a good offensive mixture
- Take a shot or two down the field to Mike Wallace
- Protect against the Jets blitzing packages
- Have extended drives
The Steelers Defense Must:
- Take away the Jets running game – frustrate L.T. and you’re halfway there
- Dare Sanchez to beat you with his arm
- Pressure Sanchez up the middle
- Allow Troy Polomalu to roam the field
The Pick: Steelers 27 – Jets 24 OT