Tale Of The Tape: Pittsburgh Steelers At New York Jets
- QuarterbackBen Roethlisberger is healthy and has playing sensational football. He was at his best in Week Eight when he threw for 522 yards and six touchdown passes against the Colts. Roethlisberger is reading defenses extremely well, taking advantage of his sensational wide receiver Antonio Brown and throwing the ball with superb accuracy. The Steelers need him to continue this surge.The Jets are under significant pressure because their quarterback situation is so desperate. Geno Smith has proved to be a failure, while Michael Vick (foot) is not prepared to rescue this team. While the offensive gameplan is lacking, Vick does not read defenses effectively. However, if he can get some protection, he still has a powerful arm and remains a fine athlete.
- OffenseThe Steelers will go as far this season as their offense will take them. Brown is one of the elite receivers in the game, and his explosive speed gives him the ability to make game-changing plays every time he touches the ball. Rookie Martavis Bryant is an emerging complementary receiver. Running back Le’Veon Bell is a productive runner who makes big plays in key situations.The Jets have a chance to punish opponents with their running game, and this is clearly their best way to play effectively when they have the ball. Chris Ivory runs hard between the tackles and Chris Johnson has explosive speed. Eric Decker can get open and keep drives alive, while Percy Harvin has the kind of all-around talent to upgrade Marty Mornhinweg’s offense.
- DefenseThe Steelers are no better than ordinary on defense at this point, and they are no longer going to win games because they shut down opponents. Defensive end Craig Heyward is fairly effective against the run and can also pressure the quarterback, while inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons is the Steelers’ most dependable tackler. Troy Polamalu can still make big plays, but he has slowed by a step.The Jets are going to establish their presence on defense in most games. They are tough and hard-hitting up front, and that makes them very tough to run against. Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson are both exceptional defensive linemen. David Harris is one of the best linebackers in the game, but a shoulder problem could slow him down. Free safety Dawan Landry is an excellent tackler.
- Special TeamsThe Steelers have allowed opponents more yardage than they have gained in the return game, but they know that could turn around in an instant with Brown returning punts. Shaun Suisham has been a dependable FG kicker, but punter Brad Wing is just ordinary.The Jets have done a decent job of covering punts and kickoffs, but they are going to be up against it vs. the speed of Brown in this matchup. The kicking game has been adequate because Nick Folk has shown he can make nearly all his FG attempts and P Ryan Quigley has a strong leg.
The Steelers have a dramatic edge at the quarterback position, and unless they are looking past the Jets, they should find a way to come up with the road victory. -Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports