The slate of weekend games ended last night with the New York Jets shocking the New England Patriots and the rest of the league. The Jets' defense stifled Tom Brady and the highest scoring offense throughout much of the contest. Rex Ryan's personality has worked wonders in just two seasons, as his Jets are in the AFC Championship game for the second consecutive year.
They'll head to Heinz Field to take on the favorite Pittsburgh Steelers next weekend in what should be a close game. The Jets defeated the Steelers in week 15 by a five-point margin. In a hostile environment, Mark Sanchez, LaDanian Tomlinson, and Darrelle Revis will have their hands full en route to their Super Bowl dreams.
The Steelers, who made a ridiculous comeback against hated rival Baltimore Ravens, will get a chance to redeem themselves against the aforementioned Jets. Somehow they forced three turnovers in the second half to steal the victory and put themselves one game away from their third super bowl in six seasons. My question about this match up is which defense will play better? You'd have to assume the Steelers would in front of their home crowd. Then again, the Jets will play their sixth road playoff game in the last two seasons, in which the defense has played exceptionally well. Whichever defense takes over will have the impact on this match up.
In the NFC, the Packers thumped the Falcons in what would be an easy ticket to the championship game. The Falcons, who held the number one seed in the NFC, did little to cement their status as one of the best teams in the league as they did all season. The Packers with Aaron Rodgers, handled the Falcons defense leading to their 48-21 victory. Now the Packers will head to Soldier Field to also take on their hated rival -- the Chicago Bears.
The Packers are the team with the fire power to win the Super Bowl this year. As long as Aaron Rodgers is behind center they are a threat to any team they face. The Bears will be the next opponent in line as they bullied the Seahawks in their match up. Seattle's "fairy tale" run in the playoffs was quickly dismissed when Jay Cutler and the Bears got out to a 28-0 lead. The Bears are still a mystery in this year's playoffs. They faced off with a Seahawks team holding a 7-9 record and Cutler will only start his second playoff game.
Both teams have played each other well as they hold the league's longest rivalry. The fans should be in for a back and forth affair. For Green Bay, can they get a running game going to quiet the fans at Soldier Field? They'll need their running backs to be successful for that reason but also because of the possible weather they will deal with. The Bears need to play smart against a fast and dangerous Packers' defense. Mike Martz will likely develop a gameplan to keep Cutler from committing turnovers.
Bring on the weekend.
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