Pittsburgh Steelers Vs. New York Jets: Keys for the Steelers
With just one game standing in the way of the trip to Dallas, the New York Jets will visit Heinz Field to face the Pittsburgh Steelers for the AFC Championship.
Coming off a huge upset win over the New England Patriots, the Jets are a force to be reckoned with and are looking for another road win.
The Steelers are thirsty for revenge, and playing at home will serve as a great advantage to them.
There are a few key factors to a Pittsburgh win this weekend, and I would like to take the time to analyze a few of them.
There is nothing like seeing Pittsburgh fans waving their Terrible Towels high at Heinz Field.
Pittsburgh fans are unlike any other. While most people dislike them, they are some of the most passionate fans in football.
Playing at Heinz Field can cause a team to struggle against the Steelers.
How will Mark Sanchez react when he's standing in the shotgun, staring down the field at all that black and gold in the crowd?
Mark Sanchez knows how to keep his cool but for the Steelers, playing at home will only serve as an advantage for them.
With the support from their fans, it will give Pittsburgh that extra motivation to win. Especially in an AFC Championship game.
With Ben Roethlisberger at the helm, the Pittsburgh Steelers have had five playoff appearances. Roethlisberger also has 2 Super Bowl victories under his belt.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are not unfamiliar with the post season or the AFC Championship.
They're never fazed when everything is on the line, or when they find themselves in a do or die situation.
For the New York Jets, the combination of Pittsburgh's experience and home field advantage could be a recipe for disaster.
Next to Belichick, Mike Tomlin is the best coach in the league.
Yes, you could say Rex Ryan out-coached Belichick in their game on Sunday but I'm still not convinced he's at the same caliber as Tomlin.
Ryan is loud, bold and knows how to handle a team. But if you look at their resumes, Tomlin's is just more impressive.
In the last 42 years, the Steelers have only had 3 coaches. Following up Bill Cowher would be no easy task for Mike Tomlin. But the Steelers organization always seems to pick the right man for the job.
Tomlin was signed as head coach on January 22, 2007, and later became the youngest coach to win a Super Bowl when the Steelers defeated the Arizona Cardinals at Super Bowl XLIII.
Rex Ryan was signed as head coach to the New York Jets on January 21, 2009. The Jets have not won a Super Bowl since 1968.
Then again this could be their time.
Mike Wallace, Rashard Mendenhall, and Big Ben
The chemistry between Ben Roethlisberger and Mike Wallace on the field can be very dangerous.
Wallace wasn't the star performer on Saturday against Baltimore, but he's still got some of the best hands on the team.
He's the go to guy when it's 3rd and 21, and Ben's looking for a receiver to connect with deep in enemy territory.
Wallace knows how to make big plays, and is one of the fastest men in the NFL.
If Ben can consistently connect with Wallace, this could be a very good game offensively for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
When Mike Wallace isn't making the big catches, Rashard Mendenhall is plowing through a defense into the end zone.
Running the ball is something the Steelers love to do. Although, running the ball may be a difficult task against the Jets defense.
It'll be important that the Steelers do not fall behind like they did in the game against the Ravens. They need to put points up on the board, maintain the lead and eat up the clock by running the ball.
Troy Polamalu and The Steel Defense
Mark Sanchez managed to rally up 28 points in the game against New England, throwing for 3 touchdown passes.
Then again, this was against the 25th ranked defense in the regular season. The Patriots defense has a few very good defensive players, but as a whole they're not spectacular. This allowed Sanchez to get the job done, along with the Jets defense shutting down Tom Brady.
Nothing compares to the powerful, blood-thirsty defense of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
James Harrison was a spotlight player in the game against Baltimore, sacking Joe Flacco three times. He can plow through the offensive line and get to the quarterback.
Then there's Troy Polamalu, the heart of the defense, their most valued player. Polamalu was inactive during Pittsburgh's game against the Jets in the regular season. With him on the field this time around, there could be trouble for Sanchez.
Polamalu is a strong safety, but seems to know how to play several different defensive positions and you
never know where he's going to be next.
Sanchez will need to read the Steelers defense carefully, and it won't be easy. Polamalu could intercept the ball at any given moment, and Sanchez wouldn't know what hit him.
Many Pittsburgh fans were hoping for the Jets, and not the Patriots.
The Jets cannot be overlooked.
Mark Sanchez knows how to move the ball and their defense played very well against New England.
If the Steelers can play well offensively, limit their mistakes, and use their hard-hitting defense to it's full potential then they should be on their way to Dallas.