After taking out two of the NFL's most dominant teams within the past 10 years, in the Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots, Mark Sanchez and the New York Jets will be taking on Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Rex Ryan-led Jets play with a ton of passion and attitude, and have lately caught some momentum. Gang Green did exactly what was necessary to come away with the win against two extremely talented teams when it mattered most.
After already defeating the Steelers in Pittsburgh in Week 15, by a score of 22-17, the Jets will have to take a trip to Heinz Field, and prove that they are the better team once again if they want to make it to the 2011 Super Bowl.
The following slides exhibit ten reasons why the New York Jets will beat the Pittsburgh Steelers, and earn a trip to Super Bowl XLV at the Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
new york jets
The offensive line for the New York Jets has been performing outstandingly well over the past few contests. Nick Mangold and company have only allowed Mark Sanchez to be sacked twice in the last five games, along with clearing the way for Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson to score a combined five touchdowns in the last five outings.
With the inconsistencies of Sanchez, the offensive line must always be on top of their game. If the Jets want to reach their season long goal, the Super Bowl, than their offensive line must continue to dominate the opposing defensive fronts.
There is no doubt that Rex Ryan wants to win every time he steps out on the football field, but quite frankly that's exactly what he expects to do. Ryan is one of the most fierce competitors in the game today, and it has been contagious, spreading his extreme competitive spirit through every player in the organization.
He believes that he is a part of the best football team in the world, and that's the kind of attitude and mentality he expects his players to have as well. Ryan's players respect him to the highest degree and attempt to prove their coach and leader right every time they suit up.
With one of the best defenses statistically in the NFL, the New York Jets are also one of the most feared. From the constant quarterback pressure by the linebackers and defensive line, to the excellent coverage and interception capabilities of the secondary, the defense of the New York Jets is arguably one of the most complete throughout all of the National Football League.
Over the last six games, the Jets have given up an average of 18 PPG to their opponents.
Passing Defense: Ranked 6th overall in the NFL, limiting their opponents to an average of 200.6 YPG
Rushing Defense: Ranked 3rd overall in the NFL, limiting their opponents to an average of 90.9 YPG
On the defensive end of special teams the Jets are outstanding. They will often down the ball within the 20 yard line, and rarely give up good field position. On the offensive side of special teams the Jets are overwhelming, but they get the job done. There's no Devis Hester type returner on this team, but, between the combination of Brad Smith and Antonio Cromartie, the Jets will often find themselves in excellent field position. Jim Leonhard also played a major role for the Jets' special teams, but has been sidelined for the remainder of the season with an injury.
Smith has seen a majority of the kick returns, while Cromartie has been fielding the punts of late. Throughout the course of the season Cromartie returned five punts for 36 total yards, while Brad Smith returned a total of 50 kicks for 1432 yards(28.6 AVG), for two touchdowns.
During the regular season the Jets had the sixth most productive kick return stats with a total of 1588 yards, while through the first two games of the postseason they have the best kickoff return average with 29.4 yard per return.
Season Stats: 219 carries for 914 yards(4.2 AVG) and six touchdowns; 52 receptions for 368 yards
Postseason Stats: 26 rushing attempts for 125 yards and two touchdowns; six receptions for 19 yards and one touchdown
Season Stats: 185 rushing attempts for 766 yards and two touchdowns; 16 receptions for 120 yards
Postseason Stats: 36 carries for 146 yards and one touchdown; one reception for nine yards
Brad Smith(In the Wildcat)
Season Stats: 38 rushing attempts for 299 yards and one touchdown
Postseason Stats: 2 rushing attempts for 11 yards
Ever since Darrelle Revis entered the National Football League he's been one of the most dominant shut-down corners in all of professional football. Despite a holdout during the pre-season, Revis has continued to battle against some of premiere receivers in the NFL, helping the Jets defense to be one of the most effective throughout the entire league.
With Revis in the lineup, the Jets automatically have one opposing receiver nearly completely shut down at all times.
Rex Ryan has formed a "we're the best" mentality for the New York Jets organization and everybody appears to be buying into it. The entire team wears their heart on their sleeve, pouring out their emotions on the football field and talking about it in the locker rooms to reporters.
Just like their coach, Jets players aren't afraid to say how they feel and you can find some kind of statement made by them every week surrounding the following game. The Jets are often criticized, but so far the in your face attitude has worked out pretty well for New York as they now find themselves only one game away from Super Bowl XLV.
LB Calvin Pace
Season Stats: 51 total tackles(42 solo, nine assisted), 5.5 sacks, 3 tackles for a loss, and one interception
Postseason Stats: Seven total tackles(7 solo), two sacks and one forced fumble
DE Shaun Ellis
Season Stats: 36 total tackles(26 solo, 10 assisted), 4.5 sacks, and one forced fumble
Postseason Stats: Six total tackles(six solo) and two sacks
LB Jason Taylor
Season Stats: 36 total tackles(25 solo, 11 assisted), five sacks, and two forced fumbles
Postseason Stats: Five total tackles(four solo, one assisted)
LB Bryan Thomas
Season Stats: 39 total tackles(31 solo, eight assisted), six sacks, and one forced fumble
Postseason Stats: Five total tackles(four solo, one assisted)
DT Sione Pouha
Seasons Stats: 59 total tackles(41 solo, 18 assisted) and two sacks
Postseason Stats: Eight total tackles(four solo, four assisted), and one sack
In one of his best outings this entire year, Mark Sanchez led the New York Jets to a big-time win over the rival New England Patriots. Sanchez completed 16 of 25 attempted passes for 194 yards, a 64.0 CMP%, three touchdowns, and a 127.3 QB rating. If the young quarterback out of USC can continue to play as he did last week, it is very likely the Jets will win the Super Bowl this season.
Last year, Sanchez is what held this team from reaching the Super Bowl. This year, Sanchez has learned to use big plays as a momentum builder, such as last week's bomb to Braylon Edwards which than set up the LaDainian Tomlinson rushing touchdown which gave them the 7-3 lead.
The Jets' success depend upon the productivity of Mark Sanchez. This could be the year that Mark Sanchez begins to make a real name for himself in the National Football League.
Season Stats: Targeted 94 times; 52 receptions for 746 yards and six touchdowns
Postseason Stats: Seven receptions for 66 yards and one touchdown
Season Stats: Targeted 102 times; 53 receptions for 904 yards and seven touchdowns
Postseason Stats: Six receptions for 114 yards and one touchdown
Season Stats: Targeted 87 times; 41 receptions for 433 yards and two touchdowns
Postseason Stats: Seven receptions for 113 yards
Season Stats: Targeted 100 times; 55 receptions for 687 yards and five touchdowns
Postseason Stats: Six receptions for 57 yards