The New York Jets are very pleased with their 3-2 start, especially considering how most people believed this team might struggle to muster three wins all season. They are riding high following their 30-28 upset over the Atlanta Falcons, and now they head back to home to face the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers started 0-4 before having their bye last week, and they are one of the most disappointing teams in the NFL.
It is for that exact reason that the Jets must be very careful as they prepare for this matchup. This is a classic trap game, as the Jets are still thrilled about their win over the Falcons and have their Week 7 rematch with the New England Patriots in the back of their minds. The Steelers have earned their record, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t capable of beating the Jets.
Rex Ryan has led a parade of Jets that have said all the right things to the media this week, praising the Steelers and saying they are a much better team than their record. The Jets have promised that their focus is on this game and this game only, and that they will be ready to play at their best on Sunday.
That’s all well and good, but the Jets wouldn’t be the first team whose actions failed to support their words. The Jets are the 7th youngest team in the league by average age (according to USA Today), and many of their key players do not have significant experience in big games. The concern is that these players will either be too confident in their own abilities or take the Steelers too lightly because of their record.
On paper, the Steelers are the perfect matchup for the Jets. The Steelers are 25th in the NFL in rush yards allowed per game, and the Jets love to run the ball with Bilal Powell, Mike Goodson and Chris Ivory. Incredibly, the Steelers have yet to force a turnover this season, and they have only recorded 4 sacks. Geno Smith should have plenty of time and space to operate, and he should be able to repeat Monday’s excellent performance.
On the other side of the ball, the Steelers rank dead last in rush yards per game, and the Jets’ 2nd ranked run defense should hold them to next to nothing on the ground. That forces the ball to the air, which doesn’t work for Pittsburgh either. The Steelers rank in the bottom five in sacks allowed per game, while the Jets rank in the top five in sacks per game. The Jets’ defense should be able to absolutely dominate the Steelers’ offense.
Of course, games are not played on paper, and Pittsburgh’s veteran core will be highly motivated to get their first win. The Jets are clearly the more talented team, but they must stay focused and continue to play the way they did in Atlanta. If they can do that, the Jets should have no problem winning this game.
Smith looks to keep the Jets flying high with his exciting come from behind victories. Watch as Smith continues to impress in his first season as the Jets quarterback by getting your Jets Tickets here.