Both the New York Jets and the Pittsburgh Steelers have something to prove in their Week 6 matchup. The Jets seek their second consecutive win after upsetting Atlanta. The Steelers seek to salvage their season after an 0-4 start.
It's a contest that pits the pass-oriented Steelers offense against the defensive-minded Jets.
Here are some comparisons through the season's first four games:
- Both the Jets' and Steelers' opponents have a cumulative four-week record of 9-7 (the Steelers had a bye in Week 5).
- They've faced one common opponent, the Tennessee Titans. The Jets lost 38-13. The Steelers lost 16-9.
- The Steelers had outscored the Jets after four weeks 69-68.
- The Jets had surrendered 22 fewer points, 88 to the Steelers' 110.
- The Jets' turnover ratio was minus-10 compared to the Steelers' minus-11 through four games.
Despite their 0-4 record and the game's MetLife Stadium location, the Steelers are only three-point underdogs. There are a few possible reasons:
- The Steelers are coming off their bye week. The Jets played Monday night. This gives the Steelers advantages in both preparation time and rest.
- Despite their start, the Steelers still have a certain aura because of their championship heritage. Plus, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and safety Troy Polamalu are established performers. In the public's eye, the Jets are still searching for an identity, with few established stars and no playoff appearances since 2010.
Winning this game would be a significant accomplishment for the Jets, despite the Steelers' record. Defeating the Steelers would give the Jets their first winning streak of the season.
Granted, winning two in a row is a modest streak. But it's a first step in establishing the "habit of winning" that separates good teams from the mediocre. It would break the win (or loss) every other game pattern that is the perfect path to an 8-8 season.
True, at the beginning of the year many thought 8-8 would be beyond the Jets' reach. But the upset in Atlanta may have won the Jets respect.
However, to improve their image as a team with potential, beating the Steelers isn't enough. It isn't a matter of if the Jets win this game; it's how they win it. They must win it in a way that separates them from the bottom-dwellers of the NFL.
In their wins over Buffalo and Atlanta, the Jets took an early lead. However, they allowed both opponents to rally and either tie the game or take the lead, forcing a fourth-quarter comeback.
This time, I want the Jets to lead from start to finish. I want them to seize control of the game from the opening kickoff and not let go until the final gun.
I'd love to see a score like Jets 28, Steelers 13.
As the Jets pursue that goal, see if the predictions in the following slides come true.
- Advanced statistics (requires paid subscription): ProFootballFocus.com
- League scores, standings and statistics: NFL.com
- New York Jets' depth chart, roster and statistics: NewYorkJets.com
- Pittsburgh Steelers' depth chart, roster and statistics: Steelers.com
NOTE: For comparison purposes, the Jets' statistics in this article reflect their first four games. The statistics on these sites will most likely reflect five games. I apologize for whatever confusion this may cause.