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New York Jets At Pittsburgh Steelers: Comparing the Offenses

Let's take a look at the two offenses that will be competing in the AFC Championship Game and who has an advantage on this side of the football:

When the Jets have the ball...

202.6 passing yards per game - 22nd in the NFL

148.4 rushing yards per game - 4th in the NFL

Quarterback - Mark Sanchez played one of his best games last week in New England, throwing three touchdowns and completing 16-of-25 passes. The Jets are extremely difficult to beat when he is protecting the football and making the type of plays he was last week. Sanchez has developed into a legitimate play-maker when he breaks the pocket. He must put forth another confident, poised effort similar to the one he did last week and the one he did last time the Jets played in Pittsburgh.

Running Backs - Shonn Greene looked strong last week and took the bulk of the carries. I wouldn't expect that to change this week. LaDainian Tomlinson was productive against the Steelers in their previous meeting but should be more effective with 10-12 carries, along with a few receptions. The Jets can't shy away from their running game despite Pittsburgh's dominant performance this season against opposing team's ground attack. They finished with 106 yards in the last meeting and there is no reason they can't repeat the performance.

Wide Receivers - All three of the Jets receivers played at a high level last week and if they can replicate their performance with Sanchez continuing to play well, they are impossible to match up with. Braylon Edwards had a big game against the Steelers secondary in the previous meeting and you know former Steeler Santonio Holmes will be jacked up for this game. There is no reason to hesitate taking chances down the field with Edwards and Holmes on the outside. Jerricho Cotchery should continue to find favorable match-ups on the inside and remain a key weapon on third downs. It will be interesting to see if Brad Smith plays and if he does how much he factors into the game-plan.

Tight Ends - Dustin Keller was relatively quiet last week and didn't do much in the previous meeting either. Sanchez overshot Keller down the seam last week and he hasn't been much of a factor in the vertical passing game lately. He is a weapon down the field the Jets shouldn't hesitate to take advantage of.

Offensive Line - This unit has played terrific the previous two weeks. It has been even more impressive considering there was no drop off from Damien Woody to his replacement Wayne Hunter at right tackle. Matt Slauson has also been quietly playing very well.

When the Steelers have the ball...

225.1 passing yards per game - 14th in the NFL

120.3 rushing yards per game - 11th in the NFL

Quarterback - Ben Roethlisberger is a much different quarterback than Peyton Manning and Tom Brady but no less dangerous. The Jets need to be disciplined to keep him in the pocket, while the secondary remains disciplined to cover down the field after he breaks the pocket. Roethlisberger can make something out of nothing and leads a dangerous vertical passing attack. He struggled against the Jets in the previous match-up, barely completing 50 percent of his passes and being sacked three times.

Running Backs - Rashard Mendenhall is the best back the Jets have faced so far in these playoffs and he did rack up 99 yards and a touchdown against them in December. The Jets have been conceding the run lately but will likely take a different approach this week, considering how much Pittsburgh likes to run the football. Mendenhall only had 46 yards on 20 carries against Baltimore last week.

Wide Receivers - Mike Wallace is the home run threat, who has the ability to break any game open. I would expect Darrelle Revis to get the assignment on him. Hines Ward is a cagey, physical veteran who is a very good possession receiver. Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown have turned into weapons in the slot for Pittsburgh and will need to have big games against Drew Coleman and Dwight Lowery if the Steelers want to produce points on offense.

Tight Ends - Heath Miller didn't play in the previous match-up and is a threat catching the football, despite having a somewhat quiet year. I am sure Pittsburgh took notice of the success backup Matt Spaeth had against the Jets secondary back in December and won't hesitate to target Miller often.

Offensive Line - Jonathan Scott and Flozell Adams have struggled at tackle throughout the year and both were banged up last week. They have dealt with plenty of injuries throughout the year and the Jets should be able to take advantage of this unit, even with their inconsistent pass rush.


Advantage - Jets - Yes, the Jets, by a very slight margin. They have a far superior offensive line, and a better overall group of receivers. Mendenhall has been the most productive back all year but the Jets have a better 1-2 punch. Obviously, Roethlisberger gets the nod over Sanchez.