The Turn On The Jets staff breaks down what match-up they are most looking forward to this Sunday when the New York Jets travel to Pittsburgh. Make sure to give everybody a follow on Twitter -
Joe Caporoso - The match-up that will be the most fun to watch will be Darrelle Revis going against Antonio Brown. However, the one that will determine the game will be the Jets safeties on Heath Miller and Kyle Wilson on Emmanuel Sanders. The Jets will be fine on the outside and should be able to generate a pass rush against Pittsburgh. However, they cannot allow themselves to be torched down the middle of the field. Sanders has tremendous speed and Miller is one of the most underrated tight ends in the NFL, both of them have potential to have monster days against a Jets nickel and two safeties who have questionable coverage at times.
Mike Donnelly - The matchup I’m most looking forward to seeing this week in Pittsburgh is how the Jets defensive front performs against the atrocious Steelers offensive line. After watching last week’s game against Denver, I had to check to see if the Steelers had secretly traded for Wayne Hunter and then somehow cloned him to play three different positions. They were that bad. We can expect to see the return of Sione Po’uha this week which will sure up the run defense, and then I’d like to see Quinton Coples, Mo Wilkerson, and Aaron Maybin tee off on Big Ben in 3rd and long situations. This is where the Jets can — and should — win the game.
TJ Rosenthal - The biggest matchup I can’t wait to see in all honesty is Heinz field and the reputation of the Steelers as a physically intimidating franchise against the new Jets. A team that may be able to protect a QB who may finally be figuring things out. With a defense that should Darrelle Revis be ok to play, can again act like a top five unit with ball hawking, game changing talents in the secondary. We were at that AFC championship loss two years back and can attest to what a home field advantage that game was for the Steelers. Let’s see the Jets stand tall in the face of that atmosphere.
Let’s watch Gang Green prove that last week was not just some motivated performance to prove the doubters wrong, coming against an overrated mediocre Bills team. That instead it was an improved foundation for a franchise that so many wanted to prematurely bury only one week ago. Take this city and this team on. Smash ‘em in the mouth. Knock ‘em in the teeth. Don’t let em scare you. Play with no fear in Blitzburgh.
Chris Celletti - If there was one thing the Jets’ defense didn’t do in their Week 1 destruction of the Bills, it was sack the quarterback. Now, the Bills generally run short and quick passing plays, getting the ball out of Ryan Fitzpatrick’s hand as soon as possible, so he’s not exactly the easiest quarterback to get to. But overall, this Jets defense still needs to prove that it can generate a good enough pass rush without having to send too many defensive backs or linebackers, and they should have a good opportunity to do so on Sunday against the Steelers, a team that has seemingly had offensive line problems for the past five years. I expect the Jets’ run defense to be solid as always and be able to contain the Steelers’ running back committee. But the Steelers have three very good wide receivers and a great tight end, and with Darrelle Revis questionable to play it would behoove the Jets to make life as miserable as possible for Ben Roethlisberger. Can Quinton Coples get his first career sack on Sunday? Will Muhammad Wilkerson show that he’s made the leap as a pass rusher? Them, and the rest of the Jets’ defensive front, should have a very good chance to make a mark.
Chris Gross - Jets Secondary vs. Pittsburgh Receiving Corps – While it remains to be seen whether or not Darrelle Revis will be cleared to play on Sunday, this will still be the most intriguing match up of the day. As a team last week, the Steelers hauled in 22 passes from Ben Roethlisberger who found 8 different receivers on the day. Conversely, the Jets defensive secondary was a nightmare for Buffalo Bills’ Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, intercepting the Harvard man three times within the first 40 minutes of play.
If Revis plays, it will be very interesting to see how Rex Ryan and Mike Pettine decide to split his reps between Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown, two very productive receivers with big play ability. If Revis cannot go, it will be a very big challenge for both Antonio Cromartie and Kyle Wilson to carry the workload. The Safety play will be vital as well, as Heath Miller is a favorite of Roethlisberger, who connected with his tight end 4 times for 50 yards and a touchdown last week in Denver. This will be one of many big challenges for Yeremiah Bell and LaRon Landry on the year, and is a great opportunity for them to prove that they have the ability to shut down opposing tight ends, something that has hurt the Jets defense tremendously as of late
Rob Celletti - Jets safeties and linebackers vs. Steelers RBs/TEs/slot receivers. One thing that’s certain about the Jets’ defense is the ability of its outside defenders. Sure, Antonio Cromartie and Darrelle Revis might get beat once or twice for touchdowns this year, but that part of the field is about as well-covered as it can be in the pass-happy 2012 NFL. Where the Jets have struggled mightily for the last three seasons has been in the middle of the field, due to a variety of personnel shortcomings. Even though the week one whitewash of Buffalo is still wonderfully fresh in everyone’s mind, don’t forget that the Jets gave up huge chunks of yardage to C.J. Spiller once he relieved the injured Fred Jackson, and they were burned by Scott Chandler as well for a touchdown. The Steelers have the always-productive Heath Miller at tight end and won’t hesitate to run the ball despite the injury to Rashard Mendenhall. Speed at linebacker and coverage ability at safety have been this team’s achilles heel since 2010, and how the Jets defend the middle of the field on Sunday will go a long way towards a second Jets W, as well as proving that these defensive issues have been addressed for the long haul.