What They Have To Do; Saturday Playoff Edition

Can Steelers' rookie quarterback Ben Roethlisberger rise to the occasion under the pressure, kown as the playoffs to lead the once-defeated Steelers to another victory over the New York Jets?<br><br> In game-two on Saturday, the Falcons and Rams faceoff in a battle which should keep the scoreboard lights flashing. Geared for the turf game, will the Rams run past the Falcons and quarterback sensation Michael Vick?

What They have to Do to Win in the Divisional Games

Saturday Games

New York Jets at Pittsburgh

What the Jets have to do to win:

Offensively, they'll have to run the ball much better than they did in the first matchup. While veteran back Curtis Martin received 24 carries, he only ran for 72 yards. It might be wise to work no.2 back LaMont Jordan in more this time to give the Steelers a different look. It won't be easy but they have to have some success on the ground so the Steelers have to account for it. That way they won't be able to keep an extra defender deep to take away the passing game.

The one area where we see them having success is in the passing game. Although it didn't look like it, they did have their opportunities to get the ball down field in the last matchup. The good news is that quarterback Chad Pennington is coming off of a solid game last week where he showed his injured shoulder isn't going to keep him from throwing the ball deep.

The Steelers like to bring safety Troy Polamalu up close in to the box and when the Jets see that, they should get the ball to their receivers. Santana Moss can stretch the field if Pennington is given enough time to get him the ball. The Steeler cornerbacks aren't anything special so the Jets are capable of exploiting their secondary. Keep in mind that starting cornerback Deshea Townsend will be playing with a broken hand so it will be interesting to see how that affects his pass defensive skills.

It also will be paramount that the Jets are able to pick up the Steelers blitzing. That's the key to their pressure. The Jets didn't give up a sack in the first game but they put enough pressure on Pennington and he threw three interceptions.

Defensively, it really comes down to controlling the Steeler run defense. It all begins on the ground with them and by doing so they're able to control the clock (Pittsburgh has the best time of possession differential in the NFL). The Steelers' identity is running the football so the Jets' key will be to take them out of that and force them in a lot of third and longs.

Keep in mind that receiver Plaxico Burress didn't play in the first matchup so the Steelers may take a few shots down field. It will be important for the Jet cornerbacks to be disciplined in their coverage.

What the Steelers have to do to win:

Offensively, there's no reason to change what they do best—that's running the football. However, the Jets have become on of the better run defenses in the league so the Steelers may be forced to spread the field a little more than usual early in the game. That's something they can do now with Burress back in the lineup. The Jets lack a quality secondary so if they take a few shots early down field, that could help open things up on the ground.

The Jets may use an extra defender in the box to help against the run and any time the Steelers see this, they'll have one on one coverage so rookie quarterback Ben Roethisberger needs to be aware of that and get the ball to his receivers.

Defensively, they must continue to stop the run. The Jets love to run play action fakes after a good run so the Steelers must not let them get the ground game have success early.

The Jets haven't shown to have a consistent passing game all season so playing Polamalu in the box makes sense to help control their running game.

The key for their defense is to have a lead to play with so they can use their zone blitzes to give Pennington fits all game.

St. Louis at Atlanta

What the Rams have to do to win:

Offensively, they got behind early in the first matchup but they were able to exploit the Falcon secondary when they were in catchup mode.

The Rams identity is throwing the football and the Falcons have one of the better run defenses so we don't see a real reason for them to change what they do best.

A big key for the Rams will be in pass protection. They gave up five sacks and right tackle will be a big concern. Second-year tackle Blaine Saipaia will be asked to handle left end Patrick Kerney (he had two sacks in the first matchup) so that could be too much to ask. The Rams will need to use full back Joey Goodspeed to chip on Kerney to keep him out of quarterback Marc Bulger's way. The Falcons also get good pressure inside from tackle Rod Coleman so guard Adam Timmerman will have to do a good job of keeping him out of the backfield.

While Bulger's overall numbers were good in the first matchup, keep in mind that rookie cornerback DeAngelo Hall didn't play in that game due to injury so veteran cornerback Kevin Mathis will return to nickel duty. Mathis is a smaller cornerback who plays bigger than his size suggests but should be able to exploit them when they go to their multiple receiver sets which we expect them to do early and often.

We expect the Falcons to use a lot of nickel packages and when they do, that's a good time to run the football, mainly out of one-back sets. Second-year receivers Kevin Curtis and Shaun McDonald have had plenty of success lately and Saturday's matchup should give them an opportunity to continue their solid play.

Defensively, the biggest key for them is to control the running game. The Falcons like getting leads early so they can play ahead the whole game so they don't have to throw the ball much. Quarterback Michael Vick had only an amazing three games of over 200 yards passing which shows you how important playing ahead is and not having him to have to play from behind.

The Rams have been doing a much better job against the run of late and if they can, that should really help them keep the game close. In the first matchup, they gave up over 240 yards on the ground and that helped put them behind early.

A big key will be for their linebackers and linemen to keep their gap discipline and also not to get blown off of the ball like they did in the first matchup.

What the Falcons have to do to win:

Offensively, the last thing they want to do is play from behind so it's imperative that they get their running game going early.

The Falcons have a solid one-two punch in the running game with veteran back Warrick Dunn and T.J. Duckett. Dunn is excellent in taking the run to the second level while Duckett is a solid inside power runner.

Another key facet to their offense will be to get tight end Alge Crumpler the ball. He's playing with a sprained knee but he has been able to practice and is ready to play. The Rams aren't solid in covering the tight end position so this is an area where the Falcons can move the ball in the air.

Defensively, they have a few key things to get accomplished in order to help win the game.

They'll need to get inside pressure from Coleman and fellow tackle Ed Jasper in order to get Bulger to roll out where their ends will have less ground to cover to get pressure on him.

In the first matchup, their ends got three sacks and the right side of the Ram offensive line is the place to get consistent pressure. Kerney should have his way with Saipaia. With that being the case, that's a good area where to use blitzes.

Also keep in mind that left guard Tom Nutten is playing with a bad knee so using some stunts and getting some push up front will help.

The Rams only ran the ball 15 times in the first matchup for 30 yards so the real key for their defense will be to control their passing game. If they can and are playing with a lead, it could be a long day for the Ram offense.

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