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Inside the Steelers: Steelers-Jets Preview

Ben Roethlisberger and the red hot Steelers offense will be looking to lead the team into sole possession of 1st place in the AFC North, as they visit the New York Jets this Sunday afternoon.

With the Cleveland Browns embarrassing the Cincinnati Bengals 24-3 on Thursday night, the Browns moved into a 1st place tie with the Steelers with identical 6-3 records. The Bengals are now 5-3-1 for the season.

In the last two weeks, Big Ben has tossed an NFL record 12 touchdown passes, as the Steelers throttled both the Colts and Ravens. Now Roethlisberger and the Steelers’ receivers are undoubtedly licking their chops at a Jets secondary that has allowed 24 touchdown passes through it’s first nine games, which is the most by any NFL team since the 1981 Baltimore Colts.

“He’s as hot as I’ve ever seen him,” Jets head coach Rex Ryan said. “It’s the same nightmare. He can make all the throws and hangs in there. He’s really using Le’Veon Bell out of the backfield a bunch, and that’s a big help. Antonio Brown has been lighting it up, as well.”

Speaking of which, Antonio Brown continues to cement his place as the best wide out in the league, as he leads the NFL in both receptions (71) and receiving yards (996) to go along with eight TD’s. Martavis Bryant has been outstanding since being activated. All he’s done in three games is catch 10 passes for 165 yards and five scores. Lance Moore, Markus Wheaton, and TE Heath Miller have all contributed in big ways during the three game win streak.

Le’Veon Bell has been a beast both on the ground and through the air. His 771 yards rushing ranks 3rd and he is tied for 13th in receptions with 47 to go along with 433 receiving yards. LaGarrette Blount has been very good in relief of Bell and when called upon to gain tough yards.

Besides the rise of the Steelers’ offense, the defense has made significant strides as well, getting continuous pressure on Andrew Luck and Joe Flacco the past few weeks, and causing a total of four turnovers and six sacks. James Harrison is getting better each progressing week, as he’s picked up a pair of sacks in each of the last two games.

“James is not old. He’s the strongest person in the league,” defensive back William Gay said. “I’ll put any type of money on that.”

The Steelers will have to deal with injuries to both LB Ryan Shazier (Ankle) and SS Troy Polamalu (Knee) as they will both miss Sunday’s game. Will Allen did a bang up job as Polamalu’s replacement last week, and will look to continue that trend this week. Sean Spence and Vince Williams will take turns in Shazier’s absence.

The Jets, who have dropped eight straight since winning the season opener, are 16th in Total Offense, and will be lead by Michael Vick, who has replaced an ineffective Geno Smith. Vick is completing only 56% of his passes and has only 336 yards passing to go with one TD pass on the year. The Jets are 30th in passing, but boast a tough rushing attack that is 2nd best in the NFL. Chris Ivory leads the pack with 497 yards rushing and five TD’s. Chris Johnson has chipped in 337 yards on the ground and one score. Vick, always dangerous out of the pocket, already has 110 yards rushing in limited duty.

Percy Harvin, acquired from the Seattle Seahawks, is a dual threat as a receiver. He’s rushed five times for 36 yards to go with 14 catches 151 through the air. Eric Decker leads the team with 40 grabs for 426 yards and four scores. Jeremy Kerley has 26 catches and 237 yards. Tight End Jace Amaro is 2nd on the team with 32 catches and 285 yards and one TD.

Defensively, as mentioned, New York has allowed 24 scores via the air. Nevertheless, they rank a respectable 8th in Total Defense, 16th against the pass.

Prediction: The Steelers have been notoriously bad against sub .500 teams under Mike Tomlin. Just remember the earlier games against Jacksonville and Tampa Bay. Or Oakland last season. Or–I could go on and on. But methinks the Steelers have learned their lessons and will avoid any type of letdown this week. They have too much on the line, and have come too far in the past three weeks to lay an egg in this one. The Jets secondary may feel like France in WWII after all the bombs Big Ben will be dropping on them. Can Roethlisberger possibly toss another six scores? Not likely, but he will have a big day through the air, and the Steelers will make it four straight.

Steelers 31  Jets 13

 

Miscellaneous: Ravens LB Terrell Suggs will be fined $8,268 for his late hit on LaGarrette Blount last week. LB Courtney Upshaw was also fined $20,000 for his late hit on Ben Roethlisberger.

 

Game Information

Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3) at New York Jets (1-8)

Venue: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ.

Game-time: 1:00 PM

TV: CBS

Weather: Partly sunny with a high in the mid-50’s. 20% chance of rain.

Vegas Line: Pittsburgh (-4)

 

Game Notes

* Steelers lead the overall series against the Jets 17-4, as well as 10-3 at New York.

* Steelers are 2-0 against the Jets in the Postseason.

* Last Regular-Season Meeting: Oct. 13, 2013 at New York-  Pittsburgh 19  New York 6

* Ben Roethlisberger with his 20th completion, will reach 3,000 in his NFL career.

* Martavis Bryant with his next touchdown catch, will become the seventh Steelers rookie in team history to post 6 in their freshman campaign and first since 2009 (Mike Wallace, 6).

* Antonio Brown with at least five catches and 80 yards on Sunday, will become the first player in NFL history to open the season with five for 80 in each of the first 10 games of a season.

* Heath Miller will move into sole possession of fourth in Steelers team history for most receiving touchdowns with his next scoring grab.

 

Injury Report (11/7/2014)

Pittsburgh Steelers

Out: S Troy Polamalu (knee), LB Ryan Shazier (ankle), CB Ivan Taylor (forearm), S Shamarko Thomas (hamstring), S Ross Ventrone (hamstring)

Doubtful:

Questionable:

Probable: DE Cameron Heyward (not injury related), WR Darrius Heyward-Bey (hamstring), DE Brett Keisel (not injury related), TE Heath Miller (not injury related), S Michael Mitchell (not injury related), C Maurkice Pouncey (not injury related), LB Jason Worilds (abdomen)

 

New York Jets

Out: CB Darrin Walls (Calf)

Doubtful:

Questionable: 

Probable: 

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Mike DrakulichYour source for Pittsburgh sports!
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