The Jets got a surprising 48-28 victory over the Bills in their opener, but improving to 2-0 may prove to be very tough for them, especially without their top defensive player, Darrelle Revis, who has been ruled out for this week’s clash with the Steelers with a concussion. In his absence, Kyle Wilson will start and cover Antonio Brown, one of the AFC’s premier receivers, while Antonio Cromartie will be on Mike Wallace.
Brown has been the Steelers’ top receiver over their last 10 games, including playoffs, catching 44 passes for 821 yards, while Wallace has caught 36 passes for 456 yards over that same period. Wallace, still working his way into the system after missing most of the offseason with a holdout, will continue to function as primarily a deep decoy, opening things up underneath. With Wallace having to deal with Antonio Cromartie this week, with Brown being covered primarily by a backup, expect Brown to once again lead the Steelers in receiving. The good news for the Jets is the get Sione Pouha back from injury. Without their stud run stuffing nose tackle, the Jets surrendered 195 yards on 26 carries on the ground to the Bills last week.
As for the Jets’ offense, in the opener, they scored 48 points, but 14 of those were by defense and special teams, and the other 34 were aided by strong field position. The Jets had the 11th most yards in the league last week, while having the 12th most time of possession. All of a sudden, that offensive “explosion” doesn’t sound so good. There’s also the issue of Mark Sanchez’ inconsistencies; those don’t go away just because he had one nice game, especially since his top receiver is a 2nd round rookie, who by his nature will be inconsistent.
Sanchez will also be hurt this week by the absence of tight end Dustin Keller with injury and he won’t find live as easy because their defense won’t dominate the Steelers’ offense like they did the Bills’, especially without Revis. The Steelers’ defense, meanwhile, provides a much tougher test for the Jets’ offensively than the Bills did last week, even without James Harrison and possibly Troy Polamalu. Meanwhile, the Steelers are a much better team at home than on the road, where they lost in Denver last week. Last year, they were -22 on the road last year and +120 at home. Back home, they should have a bounce back game, especially since they won’t be playing a no huddle offense in high altitude.