With a shot to put a strangle hold on the division, the Steelers host a team that is slumping Sunday at Heinz Field, the 9-4 New York Jets. The Jets have dropped two in a row, and have a QB in Mark Sanchez that is struggling to the point where his coach is taking him out for one-on-one meetings and lunches. So how do the Steelers find a way to win? Read below as we get you set for Sunday.
1. Take What You Can Get – If you haven’t figured this out, Sunday is going to resemble a Ravens-Steelers game, and that’s mostly due to Rex Ryan and how the Jets play. With that, the Steelers are having serious red zone issues, and overall the offense needs to get itself righted before they find themselves playing in a game where it’s win or go home. So Sunday vs the Jets, if you are inside the 20, take a 5-6 yard gain, get a first down, and stop worrying about one play to score 6. Enough of those 5-6 yard plays and that 6 will come.
2. Confuse Sanchez – Mark Sanchez doesn’t play well in bad weather, and seems to be in another December slump. So the Steelers and mastermind Dick LeBeau need to do what they can to get to him, confuse him, and when they pressure him, take him down. Sanchez the threw his 12th interception of the season and finished 17 of 44 for 216 yards against the Dolphins, and it also hurt the run game as the Jets played from behind all day. The Steelers need to play that type of game Sunday.
3. Be Physical with Edwards and Holmes – Both wide outs can be either very good, or disappear when games get tight. Both also don’t do as well when corner backs play them physical, and that will be the job Sunday of both Ike Taylor and Bryant McFadden. Make no mistake, you know that Holmes wants to come back to Heinz Field and make a game-changing play in this one, and it will be up to the Steelers secondary, minus an injured Troy Polamalu, to make that happen. As for Edwards, make him drop an early pass and his head won’t be in it the rest of the day.
Prediction – This is going to be another very physical game, the Steelers second in three weeks after last weeks win over the Bengals, and the slug fest with the Ravens two weeks back. The offense is having scoring issues, there’s no Polamalu to bail them out this week, and the Jets are desperate to get their season back on track. So why are the Steelers going to win? Easy, they are at home, where the Jets don’t win (0-7 lifetime), the Steelers are not giving the ball up, and their D is going to get to Sanchez, who is slumping big time. Steelers clinch the division after the Ravens lose to the Saints and the Steelers top the Jets. Steelers 14 NY Jets 6