ByÂ Matt Pawlikowski
Pittsburgh Steelers (0-1) vs. New York Jets (1-0)
Date: Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012
Kickoff: 4:25 p.m., ET
Site: Heinz Field (65,500) â¢ Pittsburgh, Pa.
Playing Surface: Natural Grass
TV Coverage: CBS (locally KDKA-TV, channel 2)
Announcers: Jim Nantz (play-by-play)
Phil Simms (analyst)
Itâs not often that an opposing coach comes to Pittsburgh and pays homage to the Steelers and its fans, but its exactly what Jets coach Rex Ryan did early this week.
âThis is the third time we have played them and its about as tough of a place to play as there is in football,â Ryan said. â The fans are outstanding. Anytime I go into a visiting stadium I look at the jerseys. I donât know why I do that, but how many different players names do they have on them? Thereâs Lambert, Greene, Mel Blount. They have Hines Ward and Jerome Bettis and a million of their current players. Most of the women out there have Troy Polomalu or Lambert jerseys, but its kind of neat to see when you go out there. I donât know why I am bringing that up, but its Pittsburgh.â
Kudos aside, Ryan knows that despite their big win over Buffalo last weekend, the Steelers are hungry after losing to Denver.
âThey are a very physical football team, with a huge offensive line,â Ryan said. âThey are running more two back football, its like the old fashioned Pittsburgh football so we have to be ready for that. They have seven players over 30 on defense and they donât make mistake. They donât beat themselves, they are smart and Dick LeBeau is a tremendous coordinator.â
The Steelers lead the all time series against the Jets 17-4 and have won in Pittsburgh just once, in 2010, but the Steelers took the AFC Championship game the same year. One thing that stands out in the series is the fact the games have been close, especially as of late with five of the last six meetings being decided by six or less points.
2012 Regular Season Statistical Comparison
- Points scored per game: Steelers 19.0; Jets 48.0
- Points allowed per game: SteelersÂ 31.0; Jets Â 28.0
- First downs per game: SteelersÂ 19; Jets 21.0
- Total yards per game: SteelersÂ 284.0; Jets 384.0
- Rushing yards per game: SteelersÂ 75.0; Jets 118.0
- Passing yards per game: SteelersÂ 209.0; Jets 266.0
- Sacks by: SteelersÂ 2; Jets 0
- Interceptions by: Steelers:Â 0; Jets 1
- Average time of possession: SteelersÂ 35:05; Jets 31:18
- Touchdowns: Steelers 2; Jets 6
- Rushing touchdowns: Steelers 0; Jets 1
- Passing touchdowns: Steelers 2; Jets 3
- Touchdowns on returns: Steelers 0; Jets 2
- Field Goals: SteelersÂ 2-2; Jets 1-1
- Punting average: SteelersÂ 47.3; Jets 51.5
- Punt return average: SteelersÂ 11.5; Jets 68.0
- Kickoff return average: SteelersÂ 27.0; Jets 24.0
Tebow time two
Just how much action Tim Tebow sees against the Steelers is yet to be seen. Rumor has it offensive coordinator Tony Sparano has been told not utilize the wildcat, but could that be just a smokescreen despite the fact he only lined up at quarterback eight times last week? Memories of last yearâs playoff loss are still vivid in the Steelersâ defensive playersâ minds, and Tebow may be one of the most hated men in Pittsburgh since Turkey Jones slammed Terry Bradshaw to the ground in the 70s. Look for more Tebow if the Steelers defense can hold Mark Sanchez in check.
Mike Wallace vs. Antonio Cromartie
Cromartie is a Pro Bowler. So is Wallace. Cromartie has speed, so does Wallace. Last week, Cromartie had an interception return for a touchdown. Wallace had a touchdown.
âHeâs a great player,â Wallace said. â but heâs going to have to be ready to play.
LaRon Landry against the Steelers line
Last week, Landry led the Jets with seven tackles. That was against Buffalo, and even though the Steelers line is a MASH unit as of late, Ben Roethlisberger should be able to run around enough to keep from his hands.
Darrelle Revis vs Ben Roethlisberger
Ben Roethlisberger played a good game against the Broncos in Week 1, and has a chip on his shoulder, especially after tossing a game turning interception late in the fourth quarter for a touchdown. With Revis in the game, finding one of his speedsters deep could be a problem.
Whether he plays is still up in the air. Sunday against the Bills he suffered a concussion and wasnât cleared for practice until Thursday,
âItâs been a fog, like being in a fog,â Revis told New York reporters on Thursday after being cleared for practice for the first time since the concussion. âIâve never had a concussion, so this is something youâve got to get guidance from the training staff and the doctors.â
One thing that could be interesting is the one-on-one matchups that could occur, which means Roethlisberger may try the same deep routes that burned the Jets in the playoffs two years ago.
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Matt Pawlikowski is a veteran journalist covering all things Steelers. His work can be found on Examiner.com.