AFC Championship 2011: New York Jets Vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

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AFC Championship 2011: New York Jets Vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Karl Walter/Getty Images

This Sunday is Championship Sunday, and the New York Jets will be making their second trip of the year to Heinz field to play the Pittsburgh Steelers.

In the first meeting, Mark Sanchez and the Jets were able to get their first win as a franchise in Pittsburgh, but the Steelers were without their best defensive player in Troy Polamalu.

While the win is impressive, Polamalu is a difference-maker on the defensive side of the ball and will be a great help in keeping the Jets offense out of rhythm all game.

Ben Roethlisberger has been electric ever since coming off his suspension, and he has helped the Steelers offense complement their defense very well.

This game will come down to which defense can cause turnovers and give their offense the best field position. The Steelers beat the Ravens twice this season due to turnovers. That will be the matchup to watch.

I would expect to see the Steelers come out on offense and try to pound the ball with Rashard Mendenhall, then go over the top with Mike Wallace. If they can get the Jets safeties to watch the run, then they could have a big day, but it could also bite them if they attack too much.

On defense, it should be obvious that the Steelers will shut down the Jets running game and be all over Sanchez all day long. They will force Sanchez to rush his throws if his receivers can't make quick breaks on the ball.

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The Jets will want to come out and be one of few teams in the Dick LeBeau era in Pittsburgh to come out and get a ground game going, because that is their staple on offense.

If you take LT and Shonn Greene out of the game, then it is very hard on a young quarterback to lead a team down the field. Sanchez has been very efficient in all of his playoff starts, but those games have been against high-powered offenses and not the Pittsburgh Steelers defense.

On defense, the Jets will need to stop Mendenhall from getting any groove and get plenty of solid hits on Big Ben. They will also need to give Mike Wallace a vacation while keeping Hines Ward in check. If the Jets can do this on defense, then it will relieve a lot of the pressure they may face on offense.

In the end, this game will be low scoring due to two great defenses, which really leaves it open for either team to win it on a drive at the end, and I think the Jets might just pull it out and punch their ticket to Dallas.

I know everyone has their own opinions, and I would love to hear yours via the comments section.

New York Jets 13, Pittsburgh Steelers 10

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