New York Jets (9-4 SU, 7-6 ATS) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (10-3 SU, 8-5 ATS), Week 15 NFL, 4:15 p.m. EST, Sunday, December 19, 2010, Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Pa. TV: CBS
by Ryno of Predictem.com
Betting Odds: NYJ +6/Pit -6
Over/Under Total: 36
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It doesn’t get much bigger than this. Two of the top teams in the NFL will battle it out with plenty of playoff implications on the line. Certainly, the New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers have two of the best defenses in the league, maybe even the two best defenses. It’s a big-time matchup and all eyes will be watching.
The Jets were sitting pretty at 9-2 but they haven’t scored a touchdown the last two weeks. They lost two in a row to the Patriots and Dolphins, and now the Jets are 9-4. A loss on Sunday to the Steelers would be huge. It would drop them to 9-5 and really put their playoff chances in jeopardy. A few weeks ago, the Jets were one of the favorites for the Super Bowl. Now, it’s not looking as great.
The Jets have scored a total of nine points on three field goals in the last two games. After winning four games in a row, they lost 45-3 at New England. This past week, they lost 10-6 to the Dolphins. Jets QB Mark Sanchez really struggled. He was 17-for-44 passing for 216 yards and an interception. LaDainian Tomlinson had 49 rushing yards. Jerricho Cotchery had five catches for 69 yards. The Jets turned the ball over twice and forced three turnovers. Dolphins QB Chad Henne was basically non-existent. He was 5-for-18 passing for 55 yards and a touchdown.
The Steelers are on a four-game winning streak with wins over the Raiders, Bills, Ravens and Bengals. They are now in first place in their division, a game ahead of the Ravens. In their 23-7 win over the Bengals on Sunday, the Bengals scored first and then the Steelers scored 23 straight points. Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger was 21-for-33 passing for 258 yards. RB Rashard Mendenhall ran for 66 yards. WR Hines Ward had eight catches for 115 yards. The Steelers had no turnovers but forced three of them. They intercepted Bengals QB Carson Palmer three times.
For the season, Mendenhall has 1,073 rushing yards and nine touchdowns. Ward has 49 catches for 638 yards and four touchdowns. Mike Wallace has 46 catches for 946 yards and eight touchdowns. In nine games (he was suspended for the first four), Roethlisberger has 2,336 passing yards, 13 touchdowns and five interceptions.
For the Jets, Sanchez has 2,852 passing yards, 16 touchdowns and 12 interceptions this season. Tomlinson has 837 rushing yards and five touchdowns. Shonn Greene has 656 rushing yards and one touchdown. Braylon Edwards has 38 catches for 674 yards and six touchdowns. Santonio Holmes has 41 catches for 620 yards and four touchdowns. Dustin Keller has 45 catches for 589 yards and five touchdowns.
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The key for the Jets is to score points. Their offense has really struggled the past few weeks and they need to get it going. It will be difficult against a tough Steelers defense, but they have to establish the run with Tomlinson and Greene early on. Once they do that, they can mix in the pass and Sanchez can get all of his receivers involved. The more they control the ball, the better it will be for the Jets. The key for the Steelers is to establish the run as well. Mendenhall has been one of the best running backs in the league this year. If they can get him going, it will be a long day for the Jets defense.
The Jets are 9-3 ATS in their last 12 road games, 6-0 ATS in their last six games on grass, 10-4 ATS in their last 14 games as an underdog, and 2-5 ATS in their last seven games overall. The Steelers are 1-4 ATS in their last five games following an ATS win. The over is 7-0 I the Jets’ last seven road games and 4-0 in their last four games as an underdog. The under is 4-0 in the Steelers’ last four games overall. The under is 5-1 in the last six meetings between these teams. The home team is 4-1 in the last five meetings between these teams.
Ryno’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Look for the Steelers to be in the backfield all day long as the Jets offensive line is really suffering right now with the loss of Damien Woody. Make this your best bet of the week.