AFC Championship Game: Jets At Steelers, Predictions And Previews

As I write this, we are only a few hours away from kickoff New York Jets at Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Championship Game. Let's look around the Inter-Google at some of the previews being written and predictions being made as game time approaches.

The Jets are finding a surprising ally today in Boston Glove columnist Dan Shaughnessy, who thinks New England Patriots fans should be rooting for the Jets today. He makes a compelling case for why, which basically comes down to the Patriots organization needing a kick in the pants:

J . . . E . . . T . . . S.

Jets! Jets! Jets!

I’m in. I’m on the Jets bandwagon. I’ve been carrying Fireman Ed on my shoulders all over Pittsburgh, and let me tell you, he’s heavier than he looks.

The Jets are fun. The Jets have a coach who says what he thinks without regard for the consequences. The Jets lack self-importance. They do backflips in the end zone.

Oh, and the Jets have fans who have suffered for years, just like Red Sox fans up until 2004.

If you are a Patriots fan still smarting from the shocker last Sunday, you should be rooting for the Jets tonight. The better the Jets do, the more the Patriots will be driven to beat them. If the Jets win the AFC Championship at Heinz Field, perhaps the Krafts will be inspired to spend a little more money on payroll next year (are we supposed to feel good that the Patriots have the third-lowest payroll in the NFL?).

Maybe New England will stop trading down to get "value’’ for high draft picks. Maybe New England will seek more talent. Maybe the Patriots will go for broke next year, while Tom Brady is still at the height of his powers.

So, yes, the Jets are my team. I hope they go on to win the Super Bowl in Dallas in two weeks. Perhaps that will motivate people back at Patriot Place.

Even former Steelers coach Bill Cowher is on the Jets' bandwagon today.

"Well, I’ll tell you what, Pittsburgh will have some issues this weekend," Cowher said. "The way the Jets are playing, I’m telling you this is going to be a game, I think it will be a classic game, and I like the Jets.

"They made a believer out of me last week with what they did, I think they match up well. I think it’s going to be a tough ballgame, but they certainly have all the ingredients."

Matt Bowen of the National Football Post breaks down some of the keys to the game, and SI.com's Damon Hack refuses to join the Jets parade, instead picking Pittsburgh to win. While we are still talking predictions, can't go without hearing from Jet legend Joe Namath. No guarantees from Joe, but still fun.

Star-Ledger columnist Steve Politi writes that failure is not an option for the Jets today.

Everyone remembers who plays in the Super Bowl. The only people who remember who loses in the AFC title game are the losers themselves. And they tend to remember for a very, very long time.

This is the fourth time the Jets have reached this game since winning Super Bowl III. They have lost the previous three — after the 1982, 1998 and 2009 seasons — and time does not heal the wounds.

"I wish we didn’t have a chance," Victor Green said, a safety on the ’98 team that lost in Denver. "I wish we had gotten blown out. The fact we were up 10-0, it makes it even harder."

At LoHud, Brian Heyman thinks this could finally be the Jets time.

Is it finally the Jets' turn again?

The playoff appearances have been coming more frequently. They have made the postseason just 14 times since the franchise kicked off as the Titans in 1960, but seven of those berths have come in the last 13 seasons (the same as the Steelers in that span).

These are not the "Same Old Jets" in the sense that this is the first time they have made back-to-back trips to the final four. They are 12-12 overall in postseason play, but they have won four road playoff games the last two years. This is just the fourth time they have won two playoff games.

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