Jets (11-6) at Steelers (15-1)
Line: Steelers by 9
Last time: Steelers 17, Jets 6 in Week 14. Ben Roethlisberger threw two interceptions and Chad Pennington three in a defensive scrum. Jerome Bettis threw the only TD pass on a halfback option, and ran for another.
X-factor: Steelers WR Plaxico Burress missed the last game with a hamstring strain. His return opens up Pittsburgh's offense, and even if he doesn't make big plays, it should free up WR Hines Ward.
Intriguing matchup: Pennington vs. elements. The forecast is for flurries and sub-freezing temps. Pennington's deep ball hangs in the air a long time, allowing Steelers DBs to adjust. Jets may have it tough in the passing game.
Why Jets can win: The inclusion of former Maryland Terp LaMont Jordan in the running game late in the year gave the Jets a punishing one-two punch with Curtis Martin. The Jets believe they can rattle Roethlisberger (9-for-19 in the first game).
Why Steelers should win: The threat of Burress getting deep will create running room for Bettis and Duce Staley. And that running game will make Roethlisberger's play-action game more dangerous.
Who will: Steelers, 20-10
Rams (9-8) at Falcons (11-5)
Line: Falcons by 7
Last time: Falcons 34, Rams 17 in Week 2. QB Michael Vick ran for 109 yards and passed for 179 to offset Marc Bulger's 285 passing yards.
X-factor: Rams coach Mike Martz. In the first game, the Rams ran only 15 times for 30 yards. With RBs Marshall Faulk and Steven Jackson both legitimate threats, Martz cannot afford to be one-dimensional.
Intriguing matchup: Falcons CB DeAngelo Hall vs. Rams WRs Torry Holt. Hall was out the first time they played, and he's shown he was worth the eighth pick in the draft.
Why Rams can win: Their speed/finesse offense gets to play indoors in Atlanta, and Bulger has registered his first playoff win. The Georgia Dome could be just like home.
Why Falcons should win: They play better defense, especially up front, and will capitalize on the Rams' tendency to give the ball away often (39 giveaways this year). If Martz gets behind early or doesn't have immediate success running, he will abandon the run quickly.
Who will: Falcons, 27-21 - Ken Murray