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Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Take your pick recap: Jets at Steelers

By James Walker
ESPN.com

This week's "Take your pick" on the AFC North blog involved Sunday's conference title game between the New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers. This is a rematch of New York's 22-17 victory in Week 15.

Who will advance to Super Bowl XLV? Here are predictions from our division inbox and AFC North Twitter page:

Steve from D.C. writes: Rarely do the Steelers lose to a team twice in the same year. Also, as you pointed out the Steelers were without Troy, Heath, and the Jets returned the opening kickoff for a TD and got a rare Safety. Steelers will learn from their mistakes, play way more physical then the Colts and Pats and if the teams two D's are even it comes down to which QB will step up. And you have to go with the proven QB, Big Ben.

James Affinito from New York, N.Y., writes: Mark Sanchez has looked uncomfortable throwing the ball against the Colts' 20th-ranked defense. While he played a respectable game against the Patriots, they were the league's 25th-ranked defense. The Steelers were able to hold the Ravens to only 126 total yards and Ray Rice to only 32 yards rushing. With Polamalu back, Dick LeBeau will do plenty to confuse Sanchez, and I expect a better performance from the run defense this time around. The Steelers will win this game.

Greg from Cleveland writes: As much as it hurts to say this as a Browns fan, I'll be rooting for the Steelers on Sunday. I can't stand the Jets, and I really don't want to see Braylon Edwards anywhere near the Lombardi Trophy. I'd rather see a real team win again (Pittsburgh) then the misfit Jets. Steelers 23, Jets 13.

SheedIsWayDope via Twitter writes: Jets, 24-17. Santonio Holmes shows why the Steelers should have kept him and Rex Ryan avenges his former Ravens.

Deane Belden from Pittsburgh writes: The Jets will win unless the refs give the Steelers another playoff phantom touchdown. (See vs. Seattle in SB)

The_blueprint via Twitter writes: NYJ. They're peaking at the right time, are healthier, and I don't hate them.

NickFox2 via Twitter writes: I don't like the Jets, but I hate the Steelers. Go Sanchise!

Zach from West Des Moines, Iowa, writes: I respect the Jets and what they have done in the playoffs, but I think their journey ends on Sunday. It's almost good that the Steelers lost in Week 15, which ensures they prepare even more for this game. Plus, the Steelers statistically won that game. You also can't overlook the return of Miller and Polamalu.

Mark from Allentown, Pa., writes: As a Browns fan, I'm rooting like crazy for the Jets to knock off the Steelers. But I don't think the Jets have what it takes to make that happen.

Michael from San Antonio, Texas, writes: As much as it pains me to pick them, I would have to go with the Steelers. I'm picking them for one reason, and one reason alone. The Browns have now beaten the Super Bowl champs for the past three years. The only way for that streak to continue is for the Steelers to win another one.

James Walker: To no surprise, the majority of AFC North readers picked the Steelers to win this matchup. No game at this stage will be easy, but Pittsburgh did catch a break by getting a home game and avoiding the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game. I think the Jets are a better matchup for the Steelers in this game. We will have much more analysis and predictions on the Jets and Steelers later on the AFC North blog.