|Written by Michael|
Bet on the NFL The Pittsburgh Steelers will face off against the New York Jets this weekend in the battle for the AFC Championship title.
Steelers’ QB Ben Roethlisberger hit rookie Antonio Brown on a 58-yard pass play on third-and-19, and Rashard Mendenhall scored from the 2 with 1:33 remaining to give the Pittsburgh Steelers a 31-24 comeback victory over the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Divisional Playoffs on Saturday. The Steelers, 9-0 against division teams in the playoffs, advance to their fifth AFC championship game in 10 seasons next Sunday at home. The Pittsurgh Steelers (13-4) were trailing 21-7 at halftime after turnovers created two Ravens touchdowns. But they came back with the help of three Baltimore turnovers during one of most miserable third quarters in Ravens history. And the Ravens' minus-4 yards in offense during the quarter wasn't the worst of it.
The New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers’ defenses are built around stopping the run, with much of the work being done in their base 3-4 defense. These teams were the only two to allow fewer than 40 yards per game (Jets 38.4, Steelers 36.8) against their base defense during the regular season.
The Jets were second in the league in rushing first downs up the middle, but are about to run into the best interior rush defense in the NFL.
The Steelers were the only team in football to allow less than three yards per rush up the middle (2.9) in the regular season. When the teams met in Week 15, the Jets were able to establish a running game (3.9 yards per rush), which allowed Mark Sanchez to use play-action passing effectively (6-7, 84 yards, 116.7 passer rating).
When betting on NFL Football remember: Sanchez has struggled on throws of 15 yards or more all season long, but has regressed even more this postseason. Sanchez completed 41.7 percent of his attempts at least 15 yards downfield in the regular and averaged a first down once every 2.4 attempts. In the postseason, Sanchez is just 3-of-14 on such attempts (21.4 pct) and is averaging a first down once every 4.7 attempts.