The team that at one point had the best record in the AFC and a near automatic division title, now needs a win just to stay as a wildcard team. The Jets started 9-2 before starting a slide that involved losses against the Patriots and the Dolphins. Now, against the 10-3 Steelers, the Jets are going to need all the help they can get
At 10-3, the Pittsburgh Steelers are leading the AFC North and are coming off big wins against the Ravens and Bengals. Meanwhile, the Jets are coming off two heartbreaking losses against division rivals. The Jets are still 9-4 and will most likely appear in the postseason, but need to prove to themselves and their fans that they can not only win, but also that they can beat a good team.
The Jets received their first bit of good news when the Steelers reported that pro-bowl safety Troy Polamalu will miss the game of Sunday. Polamalu is the play-maker on the steelers defense and returned a critical interception for a touchdown against the Bengals last week. He missed the entire 2009-2010 season and the Steelers struggled more without him then they did without quarterback Ben Roethlisberger this season.
in order to have a chance of scoring, the Jets will need to run the ball extremely well against a defense that allows only 60 yards per game. Most likely,the pressure will once again fall on the shoulders of quarterback Mark Sanchez to lead the Jets to victory. Sanchez, who was almost benched during the game against the Dolphins, will need to provide the bulk of the offense unless the Jets can run the ball effectively. Sanchez has 10 turnovers since going six games without one to start the season, and will need to limit his mistakes against the Steelers defense who will put pressure on him to force him to make mistakes.
If the Jets can run the ball and score, their defense should be able to hold the struggling Steelers offense. The Steelers scored 23 points against the Bengals, but 14 of them came on interceptions returned for touchdowns. Roethlisberger will be playing through numerous injuries this week including a high ankle sprain and a broken nose. If the Jets can hit Roethlisberger early in the game, they will be able to keep the Steelers from scoring.
Prediction: Jets 13, Steelers 20