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SMART BET: NFL Divisoinal Championship Games

Posted by in NFL Picks on January 19th, 2011 | 20 Comments

Jets vs. Steelers Pick ATSJets vs PITTSBURGH (-3.5) for 1 unit.

First off you have to give pretty big props for the Jets to even be in this game.  Winning on the road verse the Colts and the Patriots during the playoffs on back-to-back weeks is an impressive task by any football team.  However, there are several key reasons I believe the Jets come up short on Sunday in Pittsburgh.

(1) Lack of Motivation: I know it doesn’t take a whole lot to get these teams ready to play, but contrary to the previous two games the Jets have played the motivational edge leans towards Pittsburgh.  The flamboyant Jets had reason to trash talk and be highly motivated when going into Indianapolis two weeks ago as Indy had eliminated the Jets last year in the playoffs, so you knew they would be fired up to play in Indy.  The same motivation was there in New England where the Jets had already been blown out once this year; plus you add in all the trash talking that went on through the media and you knew the Jets were going to come to play.  However, this Sunday, the opposite is true. The Jets already beat Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh earlier this year and Rex seems to have a bit more respect for the Steelers and has kept his comments to a minimum so far this week.  Teams just don’t beat other NFL teams twice in the same year that often, especially when there is so much riding on the game (as evident by the Jets domination of the Patriots last week).  I just think the Jets need that in your face, high intensity, over the top motivation to play their best. Without that extra edge we may see a slightly weaker Jets squad this week and to win they absolutely have to play their best.

(2) Rush Defense: For the Jets to be successful they have to establish the run.  They were able to do that verse the Colts and Pats, which took a ton of pressure off Sanchez.  Sanchez is a solid QB, but he does not have the ability to win games by himself as Manning or Brady do.  The Jets cannot expect Sanchez to throw the ball 40 times and come away with win.  Looking at the Steelers rush defense, giving up only 61 yds rushing per contest, its going to be very difficult for the Jets to rely heavily on their running game and Sanchez is just not good enough to win without heavy support from that running game. If the Steelers can continue to dominate the defensive line and close down that rushing game, expect several turnovers from Sanchez being forced to throw the ball way more often then he is comfortable with.

(3) Injuries: Obviously both teams are suffering through a ton of injuries, which goes without saying this late in the football season, but the Steelers overall health of the team seems to be improving while the Jets continue to rely on banged up players to suffer through the pain and play.  At some point those injuries add up. In my opinion, the Jets cannot afford to not play their best game and walk away with a win or cover and when they have as many bumps, bruises, and injuries as the Jets team does its bound to catch-up with them at some point and a cold  wet Sunday may be just the day. It may not be the deciding factor, but look out in the 4th quarter when the Steelers look fresh and Jets have their hands on their hips looking winded.

I think this game is close throughout, but the Steelers are not losing twice at home to this team, especially when a win means going to the Superbowl. I think the Steelers pull away in the end of the 3rd quarter, Steelers win 27-17.

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