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Old 01-16-2011, 10:54 PM   #1
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Default First look at AFC Championship Game: NY Jets vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

First look at AFC Championship Game: NY Jets vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Published: Sunday, January 16, 2011, 10:12 PM Updated: Sunday, January 16, 2011, 10:37 PM
By Conor Orr/The Star-Ledger

Expect the Jets' secondary to have its hands full with Mike Williams, who had 102 receiving yards in the teams' first meeting.

How the Steelers got here

The Steelers’ season appeared bleak before it even started when the team needed to play its first four games without quarterback Ben Roethlisberger due to his violation of the NFL conduct policy. After Pittsburgh went 3-1 in those games, Roethlisberger joined a group that progressed throughout the season. They won six of their last seven games, with the only loss Dec. 19 to the Jets. They earned a first-round bye with a win in Week 17, and used the home-field advantage to overcome the rival Ravens on Saturday, when Pittsburgh recovered from a 21-7 halftime deficit to outscore Baltimore 24-3 in the second half in a 31-24 triumph. Despite a depleted offensive line, the Steelers finished 11th in the NFL in rushing. Their true strength is defense, in which they finished No. 2 in the league. (Only statistically! The number defense is the Steelers! - mesa)

Matchups to watch

Mike Wallace vs. Antonio Cromartie

The Steelers’ offense was bolstered this season by the emergence of Mike Wallace, a second-year receiver who finished with 1,257 receiving yards and 21 yards per reception. With Cromartie covering him for most of the first meeting, Wallace caught seven passes for 102 yards. Wallace’s speed makes him tough for anyone to cover, and with Darrelle Revis healthier for this meeting than he was the first meeting, the Jets could shadow Wallace with Revis.

Nick Folk vs. Pittsburgh’s field

Folk connected on two field goals in the first meeting, with a long of 34 yards. Heinz Field is a notoriously difficult place to kick because of poor field conditions and inclement weather, so it’s always difficult for a kicker to have consistent performances. Folk showed in the opening-round win over Indianapolis that he can kick under pressure, although he benefited from kicking indoors. Can he hit a big field goal in difficult conditions? The Jets may need to find out.

Wayne Hunter vs. LaMarr Woodley

Without Damien Woody, Hunter is the Jets’ starter at right tackle. He also started the first meeting and kept Woodley from sacking Mark Sanchez. That’s an accomplishment, considering Woodley finished with 10 sacks this season and added another Saturday. The Steelers need to pressure the quarterback to be successful, which makes Woodley instrumental in those efforts.

Did you know?

The Steelers have now reached the AFC Championship Game five times in 10 seasons.
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Old 01-16-2011, 10:56 PM   #2
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Default Re: First look at AFC Championship Game: NY Jets vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

that mike williams seems like a dangerous guy
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Old 01-16-2011, 11:02 PM   #3
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Default Re: First look at AFC Championship Game: NY Jets vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Originally Posted by Fire Arians View Post
that mike williams seems like a dangerous guy

I also like how it's the first thing in the article.
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