AFC Championship: Pittsburgh Steelers 24, New York Jets 19


The over-the-top cry of “can’t wait!” by New York Jets linebacker Bart Scott served as the anthem of Jets fans everywhere leading up to last Sunday’s AFC Championship game against the Steelers. The Jets now know firsthand that patience is indeed a virtue. The contrast of style between the Steelers and Jets was glaring on Sunday. The Steelers epitomized the blue-collar mentality of their loyal fan base, putting their heads down and playing as if they’d won this game before, and unlike the Jets — they have.

Is Big Ben an all-time great QB? That question will be answered on Super Bowl Sunday when Ben Roethlisberger will attempt to win his third Super Bowl championship in just his seventh year in the league. With no co-eds to distract him, Roethlisberger appears to have finally matured into the leader of the Pittsburgh Steelers as well as a functional adult in society. I would congratulate him if he weren’t almost 30 years old. I will however commend his outstanding and unique style of play on the football field.

Big Ben lived up to his nickname on Sunday, shrugging off Jets defenders throughout the game. Roethlisberger is simply too large and too crafty to be brought down by one pass rusher. Roethlisberger bought extra time in the pocket by eluding swarming Jets during several crucial plays, allowing his receivers to get open. If Roethlisberger wins his third Super Bowl in less than a decade the hall-of-fame conversation will officially begin.

Cryin’ Ryan: Rex Ryan could barely hold back the tears during his post-game press conference. The Jets loose-lipped head coach dug himself a hole when the season started. Sooner or later, someone was going to knock him over and roll him into it. Ryan’s outlandish demeanor overshadowed one of the most impressive two-year runs in recent memory for a new head coach in the NFL.

The Jets are likely to lose a number of key players to free agency next season, including Antonio Cromartie and Santonio Holmes. Ryan had the chance to write this Jets team’s history as an inspirational underdog tale. Instead, the Jets will forever be remembered as villains who deservingly died a horrible (football) death.

New York Jets off-season to-do list:
Mark Sanchez: “I’m going to brush up on the rules. I still don’t get it; you’re telling me the first half counts?”
Braylon Edwards: “I’m going to practice up for the season. There is no rest in football. I’ve got coaches for gymnastics and dancing on speed dial.”
Bart Scott: “I’m gonna kill a guy. I’m not gonna beat around the bush.”
LaDainian Tomlinson: “I already made a YouTube video of me doing the Electric Slide. What else is there?”

While the Jets players take turns cold-calling “Dancing with the Stars,” the Steelers will begin preparation for the Super Bowl in Dallas. Though I find the Packers to be the more likeable team, the Steelers have the star power to justify the usually record-breaking Super Bowl ratings.

Steelers’ Super Bowl highlights:
RB Rashard Mendenhall: Despite a breakout season in 2010, Mendenhall remains the NFL’s best kept secret. Mendenhall has some nifty moves and never goes down from initial contact. Mendenhall is a Super Bowl highlight waiting to happen.
Wildcard LB James Harrison: Let’s see if history repeats itself. Some of you may remember Harrison’s remarkable 100-yard interception return for a touchdown to end the half of Super Bowl XLIII. That’s not going to happen again. Harrison had de-emphasized interceptions in an attempt to perfect the skill of murder. Murder won’t lend itself to highlight reels, but it ought to land a spot on the news. Harrison’s head-hunting hasn’t killed an opponent yet, but that also hasn’t stopped him from trying.

Super Bowl XLV features two of the most evenly matched teams in recent memory. It will be especially difficult to pick a winner, but I have confidence I can do it. I’m 3 and 0 on picks so far this postseason (the three losses don’t count, they were practices), but it’s never easy to predict the biggest game of the year. Rest assured that I’ll somehow incorporate test tubes and beakers into the deliberation process.

Be sure to check back for my predictions on all things Super Bowl – from the winner to the coin toss – right here at next Monday.

Story by Jesse Jacobs, who also writes for The Ballston Journal

FINAL SCORE: Pittsburgh Steelers 24, New York Jets 19
JESSE’S PREDICTION: New York Jets 21, Pittsburgh Steelers 17

WEEK ONE: Wild Card Playoffs
Seattle Seahawks 41, New Orleans Saints 36
New York Jets 17, Indianapolis Colts 16
Baltimore Ravens 30, Kansas City Chiefs 7
Green Bay Packers 21, Philadelphia Eagles 16

WEEK TWO: Divisional Playoffs
Divisional Playoff Predictions
Pittsburgh Steelers 31, Baltimore Ravens 24
Green Bay Packers 48, Atlanta Falcons 21
Chicago Bears 35, Seattle Seahawks 24
New York Jets 28, New England Patriots 21

WEEK THREE: Championships
NFL Championship Predictions
Green Bay Packers 21, Chicago Bears 14

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