No New York Jets fans can forget the beating that was the first half of the 2010 AFC Championship game. The Pittsburgh Steelers put the game away early, and therefore I had more time to wallow before going to sleep that night. But no matter. This season’s match up will be different. This season Jets fans will taste victory.
I know that I have claimed the “F.P.S.B.S.” stretch of the Jets season to be a pit of despair, and for the most part it shall. But not this game, for it will be this game that Mark Sanchez sits down, puts his head in his hands, and wonders where it all went wrong. Geno Smith will be the starter by the time the dust has settled.
How will it happen? Let’s take a look at the factors:
Offensive Factor: Antonio Brown. With the departure of Mike Wallace, Brown is now the number one receiver for the Steelers. While his best season was two years ago (with over 1,100 yards), 2012 was a decent year for him. Over 750 yards receiving and five touchdowns ain’t too shabby. But that was when he was the number two man. Now he will be the number one in front of potential breakout player Emmanuel Sanders. How Brown matches up against Antonio Cromartie can have a huge impact on the game, so much so that Geno Smith might be put in early to see what he can do.
Defensive Factor: THE ENTIRE STEELERS DEFENSE. We’re talking about the number one pass defense and number two rush defense last year. They could stop any offense on any given day, let alone the Jets, which by week six will be at their worst before Sanchez is benched. Hell, the Pittsburgh D could even stop Skip Bayless’ talk about Tim Tebow if they wanted. The one question mark (and Jets fans’ reason for hope) is that perhaps the Steelers defense is getting too old. After all, Troy Polamalu can only leap like a flying squirrel for so long. If the Jets have any hope of winning, their defense must essentially be just as good as Pittsburgh’s, and that is no easy feat.
X-Factor: Geno Smith. WHEN Smith comes in to replace Sanchez, I expect some epic play. I expect heavenly choirs to exalt him as he flies by Ryan Clark and company. I want his every pass to be a bolt of lightning for the touchdown. If I don’t hear the grand music, I will play it on my speakers at home. Because that Sunday will be the change New Yorkers were looking for (and no, I don’t mean Obama). You can take that to the bank.
Final Score: Jets – 24 Steelers – 23
Jets Record: 3-3
Jeremy is a Jets writer for RantSports.com. Follow him/her on Twitter JeremyGoldstei1, “Like” him/her on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.