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Jets, Sanchez Back in Pittsburgh Again

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 11:  Mark Sanchez #6 of the New York Jets looks to pass against the Dallas Cowboys during their NFL Season Opening Game at MetLife Stadium on September 11, 2011 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Jets won 27-24.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images) The Jets' best hope Sunday.

With the Jets heading to Pittsburgh this weekend, we are reminded again of the 2010 AFC Championship Game. The Steelers won that game 24–19 at Heinz Field, but only after the Steelers jumped out to a 24–0 lead and had to just barely hang on after a furious Jets comeback. The ringleader of that comeback was Mark Sanchez, who was absolutely terrific in the second half that game. Had the Jets hung on — and they were a hold on a third-and-6 away from having a real chance — Sanchez would have led them to the Super Bowl, and we wonder how much doubt would have followed him last season. The Jets might have an even steeper climb Sunday. But that was a long time ago: Heck, Bane has blown up the stadium since then.

The Steelers lost their opener and, as a franchise, haven't started the season 0-2 since 2002, so they're going to have all guns a-blazing. The Bills offense scored some points in the second half after the Jets let their foot off the gas a bit, but the Steelers are a vastly superior offense. Even more worrisome, Darrelle Revis is almost certainly not going to play; he's still "in a fog" after his concussion last week. The key to the Jets' chance might be getting pressure on Ben Roethlisberger and, as they were able to against Buffalo, protecting Sanchez.

The Jets received surprise contributions from several players in the Buffalo win, from Stephen Hill (who had struggled in the preseason) to Jeremy Kerley, and they'll need that to continue. This would also be a nice time for Shonn Greene to average more than three yards a carry.

It's going to be a difficult challenge for the Jets, but it doesn't feel like a particularly desperate time. The key game was last week against Buffalo; a loss there would have made this one vital. This is a house money game for the Jets, one that doesn't hurt much if they lose but could send them soaring if they win. With Revis out, we don't quite think they're gonna make it. Steelers 28, Jets 20.

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Photo: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images