Smash Mouth Football, Jets vs. Steelers

January 18, 2011 | Michael Schwartz

The Steelers are facing the Jets at Heinz Field in the AFC Championship for the right to go to the Super Bowl. The Jets and Steelers both play great defense, and that is why they are still in the playoffs. The Steelers are the number one in the NFL and the Jets are number three. The Steelers have had a great defense since the Steel Curtain. They Steelers build their team to be good at defense, and the Jets have started to do this since Rex Ryan became head coach. The Jets had some good defenders but in the last two years they have acquired Trevor Pryce, Antonio Cromartie, Bart Scott, and many more. Rex Ryan was a defensive coordinator for the Ravens, and when he went to the Jets he wanted to make sure they had a strong defense. They have one of the best cornerbacks in the league in Darrelle Revis and this gives the Jets freedom on defense because Revis doesn’t need safety help over the top. That is a good thing because they can blitz more or double other receivers. The Jets also have helped their offense since Ryan became coach. He drafted Mark Sanchez, picked up L.T, got Santonio Holmes, and Braylon Edwards. This is why they have made it to the AFC Championship two straight years.

The Steelers on the other hand have not made many changes on either side of the ball because the players they have, have worked for them the last couple of years. They have a great quarterback in Ben Roethlisberger and they have good receivers in Hines Ward and Mike Wallace. Ward is one of the best blocking wide receivers in the NFL, and Wallace is one of the most explosive receivers in the NFL. Rashard Mendenhall is a physical runner, but their offensive line is banged up. The Steelers offensive line had three injuries in their game versus the Ravens and since their playing the Jets, who like to blitz, Big Ben maybe needing to get out of more than usual. The Steelers offense will need to score and that’s no easy task on the Jets. This game will be smash mouth football just like when the Steelers play the Ravens.

The Jets offense will face a tough task, but they have played teams who have good defenses. They played the Ravens in their first game, and they also played the Steelers late in the season. The Steelers were without Troy Polamalu, and the Steelers are a totally different defense. The Steelers will need to run the ball effectively against the Steelers who allow just over 60 yards a game. Shonn Greene is a physical running back who has fresh legs since he wasn’t used too much in the regular season. L.T is probably going to be used in the passing game out of the backfield, because he is a finesse back. The Steelers are great at sealing off the gaps so there is nowhere to run, inside or out. The Jets want to run to set up the pass and that will take pressure off of Mark Sanchez. Mark Sanchez is still a young quarterback, and he needs to make sure he plays a game with little or no mistakes. Troy Polamalu is great at reading the quarterbacks eyes, so Sanchez will need to find Polamalu before the play. If he doesn’t he will have turnovers, and they won’t win this game. They will win this game if they can run the ball effectively, and get their receivers in the game early. Santonio Holmes is coming back to play the Steelers, and they know him and will probably shut him down.

The Steelers will probably have trouble throwing the ball against the Jets secondary. Revis may be on Wallace or Ward, but whoever he is on Cromartie will be on the other. Cromartie is not as good as Revis but is a good corner, but teams like to pick on him because they can’t throw on Revis. Big Ben will need to identify who is on whom so he can decide where he will throw the ball. The Jets like to blitz, even though they didn’t blitz the Pats much, and this means Big Ben will need to see whose coming or he will get sacked. The Jets do a great job at disguising the blitz, but Big Ben is great at avoiding the rush with his size. The Steelers will need to try to run, but if that doesn’t work, then Big Ben needs to take over the game with plays to Wallace and Ward.

Prediction: 24-20 Jets

The loud mouth Jets will win this game and go on to the Super Bowl. They are going to be the better team, and they know that they can beat the Steelers since they already did it. The Jets offense will have decent success running the ball and that’s what’s going to make the game tough for the Steelers. The Jets defense is going to get after Ben since their offensive line is very weak. They have many injuries and Rex Ryan knows how to play Big Ben from his days in Baltimore, so I think that Ryan will dial up the blitzes and get to Ben often.

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