Rex Ryan and the New York Jets are in a familiar position on Sunday when they face the Pittsburgh Steelers. This time last year, the Jets were set to play the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship game. Just like last year, the Jets are on the road in this penultimate contest to the 2010 NFL season. Ultimately, the Jets lost to the Colts, 30-17, but can this year's outcome be different?
The Jets defeated the Steelers, 22-17, on the road during the regular season. They captured a Wild Card berth with an 11-5 record. They went on to beat the Colts during Wild Card weekend and followed that with a win over the No. 1 seed New England Patriots. The Steelers won the AFC North and the No. 2 seed with a 12-4 record. Following the bye week, they defeated the Baltimore Ravens to advance to the conference championship.
Prediction: Steelers 24, Jets 21
The Jets certainly want to correct their failure from last season. With Mark Sanchez a year older and LaDainian Tomlinson looking like a refreshed running back, this could be the Jets' year. If they beat the No. 1 seed already, why not the No. 2 seed?
Still, Steelers' quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has much more playoff experience than Sanchez and he also has a Super Bowl ring (granted, that didn't do much for Tom Brady last week). Roethlisberger did lead the second-half comeback against the Ravens last weekend.
This is going to be a game dominated by the defenses, so, as the cliché goes, the team that avoids making the stupid mistakes has the best chance of advancing to the Super Bowl.