By Justin Paley
Jets Staff Writer
January 11th, 2005
After the Jets lost to Pittsburgh 17-6 in Week 14, many of the Jets said they hoped they would get a re-match in the playoffs. Well, as we all now know, they got their wish and today began preparation for the Steelers. This time, there's a lot more is at stake: The winner goes onto the AFC Championship game while the loser goes home.

**ALSO** LATEST INJURY REPORT: Abraham officially downgraded, Chrebet upgraded.

After the Jets lost to Pittsburgh 17-6 in Week 14, many of the Jets said they hoped they would get a re-match in the playoffs. Well, as we all now know, they got their wish and today began preparation for the Steelers. This time, there's a lot more is at stake: The winner goes onto the AFC Championship game while the loser goes home.

The team knows they have to play much better than they did their first time against Pittsburgh. They know they cannot commit the same mistakes they did the first time: turning the ball over three times and committing 12 penalties.

“We’re going to have to be at our very best to be able to beat them,” Jets head coach Herman Edwards said today. “We’ll be ready to play our best game on Saturday.”

If the Jets do play a near perfect game, then they got a good shot at upsetting the Steelers, the number one seed in the AFC with a 15-1 record.

QB Chad Pennington talked about what went wrong during the first meeting, where he threw three interceptions.

“I just didn’t play well mentally,” Pennington said. “I gave them two easy ones that were crucial to our success. One of them, we had the ball across the 50 and the other we were getting ready to get in the red zone. You can’t turn the ball over in those situations because those are times when you can score points.”

For the Jets to win, Edwards said Pennington will have to have a performance like he did against San Diego last week, throwing two touchdowns.

“I think he needs to play like he did last week,” Edwards said. “If he does that, we’ll be fine. He needs to play like he did in the playoff game. If he continues to play like that, we have a chance to win. Don’t turn the ball over.”

A key for the Jets on Saturday will be giving the ball to RB Lamont Jordan. The Jets will have to get the Jordan much more than the three carries he got in the first loss to Pittsburgh. Jordan talked about how he and RB Curtis Martin keep defenses off balance.

“When you are tackling Curt the whole game, you have to be on your heels because Curt, he is going to make a move on you. I am going to get the ball and if I am in the open field, I am going to do what got me here, I am going to try to run somebody over. And I will pound them and pound them and then later on during the course of those games, once those guys start going over my legs, then I will try the little guy stuff, try the little shaking and all of that. It creates a problem for the defense.”

Martin praised the Steelers defense.

“They are just a sound team, all around,” Martin said. “They are extremely good against the run.”

A big part of that defense is LB James Farrior, who led the Steelers with 119 tackles. Farrior talked about the home pressure in the playoff in a conference call today with the New York media.

“We have a lot of confidence,” Farrior said. “We know the type of group we have making our championship run and we are going to stay focused. Nobody is going to lose sight of that. Nobody is even thinking about what happened in the past.”

Farrior feels the Jets are playing better now than the last time the teams met.

“I think they are playing with a lot more confidence than they did the last time we played them,” Farrior said.

After the loss to the Steelers, Jets DE Shaun Ellis said if the teams met in the playoffs, the Jets would win.

“I still believe that,” Ellis said. “We have to go out there and show them and prove it. We have to back it up.”

Ellis recognizes that the Jets cannot allow 120 yards rushing to the Steelers again.

“We have to stop the run,” Ellis said. “Everybody knows Pittsburgh loves to run the ball. We have to stop the run and eliminate big plays and don’t go to sleep. They lull you to sleep with the run game and they hit you with big plays. You just have to stay consistent and play physical with them and match their intensity.”

One player the Steelers are happy to get back is WR Plaxico Burress, who caught 35 balls for 698 yards and a team-leading five touchdowns. Steelers head coach Bill Cowher talked about how the bye week has helped players heal.

“It was very good,” Cowher said. “As a matter of fact, I think today we’re going to have everyone practicing. It’s the first time I think I can say that maybe since week one.”

Jets CB David Barrett said the team has come closer since the win over San Diego.

“You get camaraderie as a team, that is the main thing, to go out there and play like we did,” Barrett said. “We are just going to carry that over to the next game.”

Edwards said the team is focused on Pittsburgh.

“We know we have a tough challenge ahead, but that’s what’s great about it,” Edwards said. “The most important thing is how we prepare this week.”

MISCELANEOUS TIDBITS: In his daily press conference, Edwards was apologetic about his verbal spat with RB coach Bishop Harris during Saturday’s game and said he apologized to the team. “I always tell the team about keeping their poise,” Edwards said. “I didn’t do a good enough job of keeping my poise. Thing I hate most about it is you distract from what happened on the field. It’s about the game. It won’t happen again because I know better.”

Pennington said it took a lot of class for Edwards to apologize to the team. “In this day and age, not too many people know how to apologize,” Pennington said. “Coach Edwards is a stand-up guy and takes responsibility for his own actions and is accountable. That is why our team respects him as a coach and we play hard for him because we know he is a stand-up guy and he is going to do the right thing.”

-The Jets announced they have signed six players to reserve-future contracts. The players are: TE Matt Chila, QB Kevin Eakin, DB D.J. Johnson, DE Radell Lockhart, LB Ryan Myers, and T Charles Thomas.

INJURY REPORT: News that is bound to infuriate Jets fans worldwide, DE John Abraham (knee) has been downgraded to questionable. “He’s sore and couldn’t go full speed,” Edwards said. “If a player can’t go full speed, you don’t really want to put him in harm’s way. If he can’t go full speed, he shouldn’t try to play. He did everything he possibly could to play last week and this week, he’ll try to prepare. It’ll be a game-day decision. He’ll be questionable all week and we’ll decide the day of the game.”

WR Wayne Chrebet was omitted from the team's injury report today so we assume he will be ready to go on Saturday. Chrebet told the media today that it was tough not playing in San Diego. “I didn’t go to San Diego not thinking I wasn’t playing,” Chrebet said. “It was tough to swallow but he’s the head coach and makes the calls.”

Special team ace Kenyatta Wright (ankle) is the only other player on the report and is listed as probable.

-DE John Abraham (knee): Questionable
-LB Kenyatta Wright (ankle): Probable

The Jets had a walk-through today and will practice tomorrow and Thursday before departing for Pittsburgh on Friday. The team will travel to Pittsburgh to take on the 15-1 Steelers on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. Stay tuned to Jets throughout the week for all the news and information leading up the clash between the Jets and Steelers in the second round of the NFL Playoffs!

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