You won’t see Darrelle Revis, Troy Polamalu, or James Harrison suiting up today, but there’s still plenty of things for Jets fans to keep an eye out for this afternoon.
Can Stephen Hill repeat his outstanding NFL debut?
The rookie wide receiver (above left) injected some life into the Jets’ passing game last week with two touchdown receptions, giving them a vertical threat they haven’t had since Braylon Edwards wore Jets green.
Hill’s size and speed compares favorably to Denver Broncos receiver Demaryius Thomas, who gave the Steelers nightmares last January and against last week. Thomas and Hill both attended Georgia Tech as well.
It was Tim Tebow throwing that game-winner to Thomas to eliminate the Steelers from the postseason last January. He only saw a handful of snaps in Week 1, but his bruising running style could come in handy today.
With Dustin Keller out injured, Jeff Cumberland (above right) gets the start at tight end. I’m a big fan of Cumberland, and hopefully today will be his coming out party after he had a solid season debut last week.
Someone who will definitely get some face time today is Kyle Wilson, the young cornerback who gets the start in place of the injured Darrelle Revis. You can expect the Steelers to test him early and often.
Garrett McIntyre will get the start at outside linebacker for the Jets today, filling in for the injured Bryan Thomas. He’s not a flashy player but he’ll have to be fundamentally sound getting starter reps today.
Finally, the most impactful thing to watch for, in my opinion, is the play of the Jets’ defensive line.
The Steelers’ offensive line showed vulnerabilities last week, and the Jets have no excuse not to get pressure on Ben Roethlisberger.
The Jets are going to need their front four to help out their secondary and generate a pass rush, something that has been lacking for the Jets for a long time.
Pressure, hurries, and sacks. The Jets will need a heavy dose of chaos in the Steelers’ backfield to stop their potent passing attack. If not today, then when?
The Jets and Steelers kick off at 4:25 pm on CBS.