PITTSBURGH - Mid-week news and commentary:
n It's the Jets.
It would appear the Pittsburgh Steelers have caught a break. They don't have to travel for the AFC Championship game, and they don't have to play the New England Patriots.
But don't get carried away celebrating.
Maybe coach Rex Ryan's bluster detracts from the reality that the New York Jets are a good team.
Ryan and his staff are undoubtedly scheming ways to exploit the Steelers' patchwork offensive line right now.
If history is any indicator, the Steelers will do what they can to avoid talented cornerback Darrelle Revis, so that will compromise the passing game to some degree.
It wouldn't hurt to add a few unconventional wrinkles to this week's offense: maybe an option pass from Antwaan Randle El, maybe a reverse with Mike Wallace.
The Steelers can't get consumed with gimmicks, but they'd better have a Plan B if more conventional means are neutralized by the Jets.
On defense, coordinator Dick LeBeau should be working on a variety of blitz packages to confuse second-year quarterback Mark Sanchez.
The wild card factor in that is how much safety Troy Polamalu can do on an injured leg.
If Sanchez has time and a comfort level, he can make plays. As we were reminded last week, Santonio Holmes can make big catches even when a defense has tight coverage on him.
The Jets are a wild card entry, but they're no fluke.
It's nice to be at home, and it's nice to have Tom Brady sitting in his living room.
But the Patriots' exit from the playoffs doesn't guarantee anything for the Steelers.
n Sidney Crosby remains out of the Pittsburgh Penguins' lineup.
Tuesday's home game against Detroit was the sixth Crosby has missed since he was diagnosed with a concussion.
What's worse than that?
"There's no timetable," Crosby said about his return.
The NHL has built much of its promotion around Crosby: The Penguins appear frequently on network games, and the Winter Classic was awarded to Pittsburgh because the league wanted Crosby showcased.
Now he's out because he was blindsided by two nobodies.
If that doesn't make the NHL take a more serious stance against blows to the head, nothing will.
n Is the Pack back?
The Green Bay Packers have been the most impressive team in the NFL postseason to this point.
What's at the root of that? A sensible transition at quarterback, moving from Brett Favre to Aaron Rodgers.
It might have been rough at first, but the Packers did it the right way.
Look at all the drama they've missed by not having Favre around.
They're probably thankful every day.
Mehno can be reached at email@example.com.