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The Jets’ 22-17 win at Heinz Field on Dec. 19 was a clean game. Neither team turned the ball over. Only six flags were thrown. And New York won in Pittsburgh for the first time since the merger in 1970, despite getting outgained by more than 100 yards and being held under its regular season rushing average by nearly 50.
The Steelers ran 72 plays that day, 15 more than the Jets, so what Rex Ryan and his team did was something of a rabbit-and-hat magic trick. This time will be different.
With so much at stake, both teams will exit the gates tight, but another entertaining game takes place. Sanchez plays well again, but he gets little help from Shonn Greene, LaDainian Tomlinson, and the running game, which finds few cracks in the Pittsburgh front seven.
Scott and his comrades will again cite disrespect as a motivating factor, but the story is a tired one. The Jets play well on defense, holding the Steelers to less than 80 yards on the ground, but Ben Roethlisberger throws for 284 yards and two touchdowns on 25 completions.
Which are two more than he threw in that Week 15 loss, when he misfired on two consecutive passes in the end zone after leading the offense to the Jets’ 10 in the final minutes of the game.
Prediction: Pittsburgh, 23-17