Le'Veon Bell Will Have Big Game After Steelers' Bye vs. Jets in Week 6

Matt FitzgeraldCorrespondent IIIOctober 2, 2013

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 29:  Running back Le'Veon Bell #26 of the Pittsburgh Steelers dives into the endzone turnover score a touchdown during the NFL International Series game between Pittsburgh Steelers and Minnesota Vikings at Wembley Stadium on September 29, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell performed well in his NFL debut after missing the first three games due to a foot injury.

With the benefit of a bye week to recuperate, he will have a big game in Week 6 when the Steelers travel to MetLife Stadium to face the New York Jets.

As horrible as Pittsburgh has looked thus far in the 2013 NFL season, there is a silver lining to be had. The AFC North is rather weak, with a three-way tie at the top between the Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals at 2-2.

That leaves the Steelers only two games out despite being one of the worst teams in the league at the moment. It would be shocking to see them lay a complete egg after an extra week to prepare.

Bell indicated that he and the team aren't too discouraged despite the nightmarish 0-4 start to the year, and he discussed what he thought he did well in his first regular-season action, per the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Alan Robinson:

We’re going too keep working. We’re not going to change nothing. Eventually, things will start going our way. We’ve got to keep chipping away. Nothing is easy in the NFL, so we’ve got to keep chipping away.

The game slowed down for me, especially in the second half,” Bell said. “The first couple of carries it felt fast, real fast, but I got adjusted to it. I calmed down a little bit.
I got more comfortable.

Even in the passing game I did a good job of helping the o-linemen with chips, catching the ball out of the backfield. There’s still a lot of things I can work on, but blocking I did well. It just wasn’t enough.

The all-purpose nature Bell displayed against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 4 makes him an ideal option as the Steelers' featured back moving forward. He carried the ball 16 times for 57 yards and two touchdowns and caught four passes for 27 yards—already showing more promise than Felix Jones.

This is why the organization selected him in the second round of this year's draft.

Bell brought an undeniable spark to the rushing attack, something the physical Pittsburgh teams of recent years have thrived on. It also helps that he can be a safety valve in the passing game for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who has been susceptible to hits with shoddy pass protection.

Although the Jets defense has been formidable and ranks fifth in the league defending the run entering this Sunday, they will be coming off a short week after a Monday night encounter at the Georgia Dome with the Atlanta Falcons.

That team will be hungry for a win, and rookie New York QB Geno Smith has looked good at times, but has also been a turnover machine.

Facing the exotic defense of Dick LeBeau is going to give Smith problems even with home-field advantage. That should lead to multiple giveaways, short fields and momentum squarely in the Steelers' favor.

All of those factors should open up Bell to get going north-and-south and afford Pittsburgh the chance to set the tone up front.

Plus, the team is bringing in some help to shore up the offensive line in trading for left tackle Levi Brown, per CBSSports.com's Jason La Canfora:

It's debatable as to whether Brown will be of much help, but at least the effort is evident and the Steelers aren't giving up.

The performance Bell put on in his debut was solid if not spectacular. However, he also showed a tough running style and a sense of relentless physicality that has been a staple of the Steelers' franchise history.

Look for Bell to be the workhorse in a statement game as the Steelers get their first win of the season much later than anticipated against the Jets.

Projected Week 6 numbers for Le'Veon Bell: 24 carries, 120 yards, 2 TDs; 5 receptions, 40 yards