New York Jets At Pittsburgh Steelers (-3) - The Jets didn't have a particularly impressive end to their season and for most of the year they really lacked quality wins. They were only 2-3 over the last month of the season and heading into December they had just one win over a team with a winning record. Then they rolled into Pittsburgh with everyone assuming the Steelers would take care of business and deal the Jets their 3rd straight loss. However, the Jets did what they've done this whole postseason... they surprised and won 22-17. The Jets really seem to thrive as an underdog and really could not have played better against the Patriots. They hit Brady early and often and clearly that threw him off his game. While generally that's a good plan against any QB, it probably won't affect Ben Roethlisberger the same. The difference between Ben and Brady is that Roethlisberger is used to getting hit on a weekly basis. The Steelers offensive line is bad and has been all year. He thrives when plays break down and he has to make plays. Brady thrives when he's protected and controlling the offense.
The other major difference is that the Steelers have a vertical passing game that the Patriots lack. How many times did the Jets drop a ton of DBs back in coverage and rush three while the Patriots receivers tried to run quick little slants or in patterns? The entire Patriots offense was essentially bottled up in a 10 yard box. With guys like Mike Wallace, the Steelers can stretch the field and the Jets defense. When they played in December, Wallace over a hundred yards receiving while Emmanuel Sanders had nearly 80. They ran on the Jets as well, with Rashard Mendenhall gaining a hundred yards on just 17 carries.
Plus, the Pittsburgh defense is a much tougher test than the Patriots. The Steelers finished with the top defense in football and Troy Polamalu is more of a ballhawk than anyone on New England. Plus, Pittsburgh is a blitzing defense and Mark Sanchez's QB rating drops against the blitz more than almost any starting quarterback in football. Pick: Steelers
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