Posted by Rick Laughland Posted on 1:03:00 PM with 3 comments
New York finds itself in familiar territory, making their second consecutive appearance in the AFC title game. Rex Ryan’s boys intend for this year’s version to feature a positive outcome. After the Jets were given virtually no chance of emerging atop the AFC, they are merely one win away from their first Super Bowl appearance in 41 years. Led by a second year coach and second year quarterback the Jets are on the precipitous of playing for NFL glory. The Jets and Steelers are near mirror images; each playing fast and physical defense while boasting a punishing ground game. Jets coach Rex Ryan and Steelers head man Mike Tomlin have a mutual respect for one another, recognizing that the winner of Sunday’s game will be well-deserving of a Super Bowl berth
KEYS TO VICTORY:
1. Win the turnover battle
In their divisional matchup with the Ravens, Pittsburgh forced a fumble on running back Ray Rice along with a fumble and interception of quarterback Joe Flacco. Baltimore’s three miscues translated to 17 Pittsburgh points proving to be the difference in a 31-24 Steelers win. Jets sophomore quarterback Mark Sanchez will need to keep ball security paramount especially opposing a ball hawking Steelers defense. The Steelers offense lost two fumbles in their divisional round game showing they are prone to their fair share of mistakes. Gang Green’s defense is playing at an elite level more than capable of forcing turnovers and producing points on Sunday.
2. Win the rushing battle
Pittsburgh represents the NFL’s top rushing defense, allowing only 62.8 yards per contest while having held the Ravens to 35 rushing yards in the divisional round. If New York is hopeful of upholding their reputation as road warriors they will need to sustain drives and break through against a menacing Steelers front. With wintery conditions and moderate winds in the forecast, an added emphasis will be placed on keeping the ball on the ground and grinding out first downs. Sunday’s contest promises to be hard hitting, as Rex Ryan labeled it “a triple chin strap game.”
3. Mike Wallace vacationing on Revis Island
The Steelers’ second year receiver Mike Wallace is as good a deep threat as there is league wide. Perhaps this week Wallace will meet his match in all world cornerback Darrelle Revis. Revis has a reputation for silencing top flight receiving talent and this week intends to add Wallace’s name to a long list of guests on Revis Island. Wallace runs a great deal of vertical routes and if Darrelle Revis can jam him at the line and impeded his progress it could be a long day for the Black and Gold’s number 17.