The Steelers trend continues of playing big games. Although Cincinnati wasn't a huge game it was still a division one that the Steelers had to win after an emotional win over Baltimore. The Steelers defense has been studly over the past four games giving up only nine points per game and making big plays.
The Jets are reeling. They have a lot of holes but still a very good defense. Whatev.
Lets get after it.
Pittsburgh 23, Cinncinati 7
Passing: Roethlisberger: 21/33, 258 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT
Rushing: Mendenhall: 18 car, 66 yards, 0 TD
Receiving: Ward: 8 rec, 115 yards, 0 TD
Miami 10, New York 6
Passing: Sanchez: 17/44, 216 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Tomlinson: 19 car, 49 yards, 0 TD
Receiving: Cotchery: 5 rec, 69 yards, 0 TD
Offense (rank in NFL)
Pittsburgh: 332.4 yards/game (19th)
New York: 350.7 yards/game (12th)
Pittsburgh: 212.2 yards/game (18th)
New York: 207.0 yards/game (21st)
Pittsburgh: 120.2 yards/game (10th)
New York: 143.7 yards/game (6th)
Pittsburgh: 22.3 points/game (16th)
New York: 21.0 points/game (18th)
Pittsburgh: 293.0 yards/game (4th)
New York: 292.5 yards/game (3rd)
Pittsburgh: 60.1 yards/game (1st)
New York: 88.5 yards/game (3rd)
Pittsburgh: 232.9 yards/game (23rd)
New York: 203.9 yards/game (9th)
Pittsburgh: 15.2 points/game (2nd)
New York: 18.6 points/game (6th)
It feels like we just got done talking about a team who came into the season with puffed out chests and were locks to make it to the AFC Championship game. If you talk to both teams, and the fan bases, every single person would probably tell you that the Jets and Bengals would be a nice lock to get to the championship and have one of them play against the NFC winner for the Super Bowl.
How is that working out now?
Lets first take a look at the Jets schedule and how they have faired:
The schedule doesn’t look too bad. A lot of wins with a few losses to some tough teams. You look at any teams schedule and you would probably find something similar. With the ups and downs in the NFL it is hard to win every game and beat every single good team you play. Losses happen, which is why teams don’t go undefeated every single year.
But look a little closer.
The Jets have only been able to beat one team, one, that is over .500 this season, the New England Patriots, in week two of the NFL season. The same Patriots who took the Jets to the woodshed in week 13, 45-3.
Other than that the Jets have lost to Baltimore (10-9), Green Bay (9-0) and New England (45-3). The Jets scored a combined 12 points in three losses and in turn only nine points in the only three games they have played against over .500 teams. Yea, they are ready for the Super Bowl. Jokes.
Jump it for the rest of the preview.
The quarterback play has been all Mark Sanchez, probably much to the chagrin of many New York Jet fans. The Jets franchise guy has been largely underwhelming this season with the Jets having to win in spite of the kid for most of their wins.
Last season “Sanchize” threw 20 picks, which was second highest in the league to Jay Cutler, while only throwing 12 touchdown passes. Not exactly the ratio you want there playboy. This season Sanchez started out on fire throwing eight touchdowns and no picks in the Jets first five games. Since that streak Sanchez has thrown picks in every single game including three games with multiple picks. In the last eight games Sanchez has eight touchdown passes and 12 interceptions. Not a good ratio to head into the playoffs with.
Most of the blame should be on Sanchez, but his coaching staff does him no favors. While I don’t get to watch every single Jets game I do catch a lot of them and I must say that Sanchez is handicapped. Maybe that is good because he is still very prone to throwing picks and turning the ball over, but at some point you have to let him put the big boy pants on.
I hope he wears his big boy pants this week. The Steelers defense is hungry.
Speaking of hungry I heard Heinz Field has slammin hot dogs:
As most of us know Sanchez is a pretty boy USC boy and like the warm weather and sunshine. In his NFL career Sanchez has not faired well in cold weather games. In games where the temperature is below 40 degrees Sanchez’s stat line reads as so: 59-109, 54% completion, 619 yards, 2 TD, 7 INT, 5.7 YPA. Awful.
What is the weather supposed to be like on Sunday?
Wear your mittens, Mark.
And then there is this:
Going into the season the Jets were settled on Shonn Greene being the top back who was probably going to get a bulk of the carries for the green and white. That has not been the case. The Jets signed LaDainian Tomlinson after he became a free agent and he has brought a lot to this Jets offense.
While Tomlinson is a little long in the tooth for an NFL running back he has rushed for a team-high 837 yards and averaging a pretty respectable 4.3 yards per carry. Greene, on the other hand, has carried the ball 161 times for 656 yards. Not a bad 1-2 punch for a team that has to have a running game to succeed.
Mark Sanchez is not going to win this football game. That should already be known but if Tomlinson, Greene and Co. don’t get anything going on the ground it is going to be a very long day for the Jets.
As well as Tomlinson has been playing this year he has only topped 100 yards one time, against Buffalo, and has been held below 50 yards rushing the last four games. Greene also only has one 100+ yard effort, again against Buffalo, and was held to 17 yards rushing last week. If those two players don’t combine for about 120 yards rushing then I can’t see the Jets winning.
I will give LT 10 yards to start for one of the best SportsCenter commercials in a long time.
Braylon Edwards is a joke. He is mud and I hate him.
He think he is good and runs his mouth and talks the talk, but very rarely can he walk the walk.
If there is one thing Edwards is good at, it is this:
Even Madden knows…
When Braylon isn’t too busy dropping passes he is getting banged up and thinking it is ok to get into a car
You stay classy Braylon
Edwards does have 674 yards on the year, but has only caught 38 ball in the 80 he was targeted.
What shouldn’t be overshadowed by Braylon Edwards being a tool is that Santonio Holmes is coming back into town. Tone was drafted by the Steelers in the first round of 2006. He made probably the biggest catch of this generation of Steelers Nation when he toe tapped the back of the end zone in the Super Bowl.
The Steelers shipped Holmes off in the off season to the Jets after he was banged for a four game suspension. Coming off the suspension he has been playing pretty good football. He has 41 catches for 620 yards and four touchdowns. He is one of the best at adlibbing and very good in his intermediate routes so it will be of the utmost importance that the Steelers know where he is and pay attention to him.
As far as the response that Tone will get from the Steelers faithful, I just know one thing, I will not be booing him. He meant to much to this organization and he will always be a Steeler in my mind. Those of you that boo him are fools.
Dustin Keller might be the most underrated player on this team. A young, up and coming, tight end that soon, if not already, will be Mark Sanchez’s favorite target. Although Keller leads the team with 43 receptions and is second on the team with five touchdown catches he has not caught more than four passes since week three and hasn’t hauled in a touchdown pass since week four. Talk about falling off the cliff. Still dangerous.
Cotchery is a joke.
The guy I really worry about is Brad Smith. Now, you might look at the stats and see that Smith only has four catches for six yards, but he is dynamic in the return game. Smith also runs the “wildcat” package for New York and has gashed teams with his athletes. Need to have good, solid, special teams play this week or Smith will hurt us.
The Jets line is anchored by 2006 first round pick Nick Mangold. The Jets actually have a pretty good offensive line. The only reprive that the Steelers might get is that Damien Woody was played on IR with a knee injury so therefore he will not be participating in the game on Sunday.
It will be interesting to see how D’Brickashaw Ferguson deals with James Harrison. JH currently leads the Steelers with 10 sacks and does a lot on straight bull rushes, ripping through offensive lineman. It might be harder this week since Ferguson is 6-6, 310, so that just isn’t someone you can make your bitch as James Harrison has to many offensive lineman this season, even while being held. James is going to have to use hit quickness more this week to get the edge and make Ferguson put him way out wide and hopefully Dick LeBeau can use some stunts and blitz’s to make life hell for Sanchez.
Brandon Moore might be one of the better lineman you haven’t heard about in the NFL. Dude can play from the guard position. He and Mangold will meet Casey Hampton. I hear Casey is hungry.
What is so strange about the Jets defense is how bad they can be when they win and how good they can be when they don’t win. Aside from the Patriots game (I mean really, who isn’t New England putting up huge points against) the Jets only let up 29 points in their three other losses. When you give up 10 points a game (in those losses) you expect to win the football game. This is a good defense, but they are a different type of defense than what Steelers fans are used to seeing.
The Jets are a very good defense on the back end and their secondary is regarded as one of the best, especially with D. Revis in the back end of that. Revis seems as if he is going to cover deep threat Mike Wallace so that will be an interesting matchup to watch. Wallace said he wants to get all up in “Revis Island”. I am not going to lie if Revis doesn’t get some safety help there he is going to have a tough day. Revis had had some hamstring issues this season and you know how those are. They never go away when they happen during the season and Mike Wallace might be the fastest play in the NFL. Revis loves to play bump coverage and if he slips one time without safety help it is going to be game over on that matchup.
The linebackers are pretty good with Bart Scott and David Harris who combined for four sacks on the season and eight tackle for loss. Not that impressive. Scott is a former Raven. He is mud.
Jason Taylor is on the team. No idea he was still around.
Cromartie is still living off his return for a touchdown a couple years ago. People get a hard on for his name but Hines Ward and company can really exploit him.
Shaun Ellis is the real deal. He is going to be a tough show for Markice Pouncey. After having a tough time against Ngata so this will be another tough test for the rookie. If he can handle Ellis a little bit the running game will be successful and the Steelers should roll.
Like I said, the Jets defense is tough but I think Ben Roethlisberger can make some things happen and do enough to get the Steelers to win.
A few thoughts:
-This is a nice chance for the Steelers to wrap some things up. As I say most every week all the Steelers need to do is play their game. The Jets aren’t that great of a team, at least in my eyes, so if the Steelers are able to get Rashard Mendenhall going the offense should be just fine. Ben can make some things happen and we are good.
-The offensive line just has to be average. Not get pushed into the backfield and create a few seams that Rashard can run though. The Jets do not have a dominant pass rusher but they do get after the quarterback a little bit. Ben has been getting beat up the past few weeks so letting him have a couple of passing plays will make him happy. It will also give Mike Wallace a little time to work on whoever they are throwing at him.
-The defense is simple. Make Mark Sanchez beat you. Make it known that you don’t think that he can beat us himself. Take LT and Greene out of the game in the first quarter and don’t let them even sniff the ball.
-I think the most fundamental thing we can say about the defense, and the special teams, is that they need to do one thing: tackle. When the Jets special teams (Brad Smith) is successful he is breaking tackles. Tomlinson, Holmes and company can be great after first contact if they can beat it. Don’t let it get to that.
-Prediction? Steelers 20, Jets 10.