The AFC Championship game between the New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers will kickoff today at 6:30 EST (5:30 CST). The weather is a brisk 15F, but the wind chill factor makes it feel more like 2F.
The one thing that all four teams remaining in the tournament have in common, is good defense. All four ranked in the top ten in total defense. And while they all have offenses capable of putting up big numbers, their defenses have served as the backbone of their respective regular season successes.
The key to victory in today's AFC game is going to be turnovers. The teams are very evenly matched in most respects. A special teams touchdown was the difference in New York's victory over Pittsburgh in the regular season. It's really no revelation, but this year more than ever the teams that have won consistently, have done so by eliminating mistakes.
Jets head coach Rex Ryan is a very good game manager, who gets impatient. Ryan will usually take the big gamble, when his team hits a lull. If you can play your game, and limit the Jets first downs, eventually Rex Ryan will take a big risk. If you're prepared for that, you can make the Jets pay.
Personally I believe a healthy Troy Polamalu means being prepared to take advantage of the possibility of mistakes. And I think he'll be the difference in this game. The SB Nation preview has the Jets winning this game, but think it's going to be the Steelers day. Their long,cold day.
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