The New England Patriots entered tonight’s game at Gillette having lost their last two playoff games at home. It was clear from the first drive of the game that the Denver Broncos would not be adding a third loss for New England here tonight. The Patriots made it look easy with a 45-10 win over the Broncos. (more)
The Pittsburgh Steelers will look to advance to their third Super Bowl in six years when they host the New York Jets at Heinz Field on Sunday evening. The Steelers are fresh off of a hard fought victory over the Baltimore Ravens, 31-24, on Saturday. The Steelers pulled off the victory the same way they always do in January; with great defense and clutch offense. Pittsburgh held Baltimore to 126 total net yards, only 2.4 per play, and kept the Ravens out of the end zone for the entire second half.
This week we can expect much of the same from the Steelers, as they will face the New York Jets, who will undoubtedly try to establish their running game and control the clock. The Jets, who are fresh off of an upset of the Super Bowl favorite New England Patriots, are also where they are because of defense. Like the Steelers, they have a great pass rush that attempts to force their opponents to throw the ball downfield to create offense.
However, the Jets differ from the Steelers once you get to that second level. They have Darrelle Revis, one of the few elite shutdown corners in the NFL, who can eliminate any receiver from the game. On the opposite side is Antonio Cromartie, who is the playmaking corner who gets more than his share of opportunities to come down with turnovers. But Cromartie is also prone to mistakes, especially over the middle of the field. Whichever Steelers receiver, either Hines Ward or Mike Wallace, is matched up with Cromartie could have a big game and ultimately, could be the key to a Steelers victory. (more)
The Indianapolis Colts were able to score 17 second half points while holding the New York Jets scoreless to declare the 30-17 victory in Sunday’s AFC Championship contest at Lucas Oil Stadium. Peyton Manning was brilliant through all four quarters, throwing for 377 yards and three touchdowns from 26 completions. The four time MVP became the first player in NFL history with seven 300 yard games in the playoffs, just recently passing Kurt Warner and Joe Montana.
“The guys have always been a very confident bunch and they do a great job of hanging in there,” said coach Jim Caldwell. “Peyton had just an outstanding game. He’s one of those guys that can adjust to different situations. A real champion.”
Following a defensive battle in the first block, the Colts were first to score when Matt Stover sent one through the uprights from 25 yards out to start the second. The Jets responded with Mark Sanchez hitting Braylon Edwards for 80 yards, marking their longest reception of the season. Indianapolis came together for a touchdown to end the half to make it 17-13 in favor of the Jets. From there it was all Peyton and Co. with two more TD’s and another field goal for the extra insurance.
Indianapolis will now move on to Land Shark Stadium in Miami, FL for Super Bowl XLIV, where they’ll meet up with the NFC champion New Orleans Saints.
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