The former Steelers coach and current CBS analyst was so impressed with the Jets’ win over the Patriots he said Rex Ryan's team will win again in Pittsburgh in the AFC Championship on Sunday.
“I’ll tell you what, Pittsburgh may have some issues this weekend,” Cowher said in an interview on WFAN . “The way the Jets are playing, I’m telling you this is going to be a game, I think it will be a classic game, and I like the Jets. They made believers out of me with what they did. They match up well, I think it’s going to be a tough ballgame, but they certainly have all the ingredients to go to the Super Bowl.”
To do that, Cowher said he believes the Jets cannot be deterred by the Steelers’ top-ranked rush defense that allowed 1,004 yards this season -- 437 fewer than the Bears, who ranked second in the NFL.
“(Jets offensive coordinator) Brian Schottenheimer has to be patient enough to run the ball against the Steelers,” Cowher said. “You may not have success, but that will slow down (LaMarr) Woodley, that will slow down (James) Harrison; that’s the best pass protection you got is getting those guys to respect the run. Shorten this game, if you can keep Ben Roethlisberger off the field like they kept Tom Brady and Peyton Manning off the field, that’s the best defense you have.”
The Jets upset the Patriots in the AFC Divsional round with a defensive scheme that puzzled Brady and New England’s offense. Cowher said he’s never seen Brady “more dumbfounded.” But it was the trash talk that Ryan and his team threw the Patriots' way that could have been the difference.
“There’s no question in my mind that the New York Jets got under the skin of the New England Patriots; you saw it the whole game,” Cowher said. “They were chippy, they were frustrated, all the talking got to them. I believe that. They lost the composure and I never thought I’d see a New England Patriots team do that.”
Cowher before the game said in a conference call with reporters that the mouthy the Jets had wakened "a sleeping giant” with all their talk.