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NFL Game Preview: New York Jets vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Troy Polamalu won the game for the Steelers this weekBetting Overview:

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. The NFL betting world would take some mercy on the freefall of the New York Jets if head coach Rex Ryan had not spent all preseason and the first part of the regular season making cocky NFL predictions. Now that the Jets have been on the receiving end of one of the most lopsided NFL scores of the entire season when they lost in week 13 to the New England Patriots 45-3, Ryan is not talking as much as he used to. But it may be a bit too late for the necessary humility on the side of the Jets.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are doing their best to stay in the AFC playoff hunt, but their quarterback is getting beat up in the process. Ben Roethlisberger has a foot injury, a shoulder injury and now a broken nose. The offensive line cannot protect Big Ben like they need to, and they cannot open up holes for running back Rashard Mendenhall. But somehow the Steelers keep winning, and a lot of it has to do with their hard-hitting defense.

Offense:
The New York Jets should have one of the most prolific offenses in the history of football. They have running backs Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson carrying the ball and catching passes out of the backfield. The wide receivers include Braylon Edwards, Santonio Holmes and Jerricho Cotchery, and the offensive line is one of the best in the league. Granted, the offensive line has suffered some injuries. But it is still one of the best lines in the game. The problem is the continually decreasing confidence of second-year quarterback Mark Sanchez. Head coach Rex Ryan expertly eased Sanchez into the NFL last season and the Jets backed their way into the AFC Championship game. But Ryan has let Sanchez make more decisions this season, and the result has been a revelation that Mark Sanchez is not the championship-caliber quarterback that this otherwise championship-caliber offense needs.

The offense is not the story in Pittsburgh. The Steelers offense chugs along behind an offensive line that has almost gotten their quarterback killed, and cannot open up running lanes for the running back. Roethlisberger is probably one of the key reasons why the Steelers offense is able to function at all. But as Big Ben continues to get battered, the Steelers are starting to realize that they have serious concerns on offense.

Defense:
Defense is the thing in Pittsburgh, and it is the reason why the Steelers keep winning games. If James Harrison would learn how to tackle legally and without the intent to hurt people, he would have 15 or more sacks by now. But Harrison spends too much time blaming the league for his problems when he should be focusing his incredible talent on containing the passing game. Troy Polamalu continues to be the dagger in the hearts of opposing offenses for the Steelers. He is one of the best defensive players in the game, and a valuable part of the Steelers defense.

The New York Jets are an interesting study on defense. It is curious to note that a team with cornerbacks named Darelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie is still giving up big plays to lose games. The Jets can rush the passer and defend the run, but the pressure the Jets offense is putting on the defense is starting to show.

The Bottom Line:
The Jets will keep crashing as long as Sanchez is playing quarterback. It is too late for him now. For the rest of the season, Mark Sanchez will be second-guessing himself and pulling his team further and further out of the playoff race.

Pick: Pittsburgh Steelers

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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