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Thursday, December 16, 2010
Take your pick recap: Jets vs. Steelers

By James Walker
ESPN.com

This week's "Take your pick" in the AFC North involved a pair of likely playoff teams.

Who will win Sunday's high-profile matchup between the New York Jets (9-4) and Pittsburgh Steelers (10-3)? There are plenty of postseason implications for both clubs.

Here are some predictions from our always booming AFC North inbox:

Todd from Winnipeg, Manitoba, writes: Without a doubt Pittsburgh is gonna roll straight over the Jets. I've been watching the Jets closely over the last five weeks and the Steelers have little to worry about here. Mark Sanchez gets frazzled easily and with Pittsburgh's relentless pass rush and run-stopping ability the Jets will be lucky to see 10 points in this affair.

Kevin from Pittsburgh writes: If you asked me three weeks ago, I would have picked the Jets. This week, however, it's going to be the Steelers. Mark Sanchez and the Jets are slumping at the exact same time that the Steelers' defense is starting to fire up. Defense wins championships, and it's going to win this game too.

Groomraves writes: I think Jets are more desperate and they have a lot to lose. I know Rex Ryan has been battling against these guys for years, and he has the formula to beat Ben Roethlisberger. I still remember how bad Bart Scott scorched him in 2006 at Heinz field. I think he can and will do it again. Jets squeeze one out here, 17-14.

Whodey1 from Cincinnati writes: The Jets will be looking to show everyone that they should be in the playoffs with a big win over the Steelers. Jets win, 21-10.

Dave from Birmingham, Ala., writes: I'm picking the Steelers. Elite quarterbacks (Tom Brady, Drew Brees account for 2 of 3 losses) can exploit their weaknesses on defense. That's not the case with lesser quarterbacks, and right now Sanchez is struggling. He will continue to struggle this Sunday in Pittsburgh.

Jason M. from Wakeman, Ohio, writes: I'm calling Jets on this one. I think the Steelers are the better team and have a better shot in the playoffs. But they're on a winning streak and due for a letdown while the Jets are desperate and looking for a big bounce-back game. Either way, it's going to be close and ugly. Jets, 17-14.

Cory from Pasadena, Md., writes: The Jets have lost momentum and can't seem to find any offensive rhythm. Meanwhile the Steelers' D is on fire. Pittsburgh is too hot right now to let the Jets upend them at home. Steelers win, 16-6.

Ryan from Marion, Iowa, writes: The Jets will lose a close game late, 23-17, and spoil Santonio Holmes' return to Heinz Field. I look for Ben to get the offense rolling and actually score some touchdowns this week. I think Mike Tomlin has these guys focused enough to get through this game and a short week against Carolina then rest some guys with the Number No. 2 seed locked up.

Joe from San Antonio, Texas, writes: The Steelers will put the Jets out of their misery with a stifling defense and their balanced offense. If the Jets can't score more than six points against Miami, do they even score against Pittsburgh on the road? Steelers all but lock up the No. 2 seed in the AFC with a convincing, 28-3, win.

Beth Larson from Harmony, Pa., writes: The Jets are weak and we're playing them at a perfect time! Our defense will take advantage of Mark Sanchez's weaknesses and our offense will finally get the ball rolling. Steelers win, 21-10.

AFC North (not so) final say

James Walker: As expected, more AFC North readers believe the Steelers will beat the Jets at home Sunday. But don't expect this to be a cakewalk for Pittsburgh. The Jets are built like an AFC North team thanks to the players and mentality that head coach Rex Ryan brought to New York. And as poor as Sanchez is playing right now, Pittsburgh's offense isn't lighting up the scoreboard, either. The Steelers' offense only got three field goals last week from kicker Shaun Suisham against the lowly Cincinnati Bengals (2-11). If Pittsburgh struggles to get into the end zone again, it will be another low-scoring game. Like we always do, the AFC North blog will pick this game and others in the division on Friday.