Know Thy Enemy: Week 6: New York Jets vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

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Sep 22, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Heath Miller (83) runs the ball against Chicago Bears cornerback Isaiah Frey (31) during the second half at Heinz Field. The Bears won the game, 40-23. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

After a one week hiatus, we are back this week with a new edition of “Know Thy Enemy”. This week, the Jets take on the Pittsburgh Steelers. For this week, we talk with Dominic DiTolla, the co-editor of the fansided site, Nice Pick Cowher.

Take a look at our conversation about the upcoming game:

THE JET PRESS: What is the feeling around Steeler Nation?  How desperate are they for a win on Sunday?

NICE PICK COWHER: The Steelers have yet to hold a lead during a second half of any of their games this year. With that in mind, I am sure this team is desperate to record a win.  I will say that it has been nice to be distracted by the recent success of thePirates and the Penguins, but the Steelers’ struggles have still garnered largeamounts of headlines. Hopefully this team can feel the pressure and stop theirlollyegagging.

TJP: This Steeler offense is not the same offense we are used to, under Todd Haley.Can it get right against the Jets, with the number 2 defense in the league?

NPC: The returns of Heath Miller and Le’Veon Bell are huge pluses. Bell should be a“wild-card” this weekend, especially if the team can give him touches in theground game and avoid going to the air “too early and too often.” Of course, theonly way that this team has moved the ball successfully all year has beenthrough the air with Ben Roethlisberger running a hurry-up attack.At some pointthis offense needs to develop an identity, and must do so quickly if they wishto start winning games.  Honestly, I don’t see a chance in hell of this team moving the ball and scoringmany points versus the Jets stingy defense.

TJP: A lot can be said about Rex Ryan, but one thing he is undeniably great at iscoaching defense.  How do the Steelers attack the Jets?

NPC: I really hope that the ground attack can find some success early. That of coursewill depend on the offensive line “nutting up” and the defense not playing likegarbage and spotting the Jets an early lead.

A talented back like Bell is a huge plus, but spreading the Jets out withAntonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, Jerricho Cotchery, Derek Moye, and Miller withRoethlisberger distributing them the football is never a bad choice either. Ofcourse Pittsburgh’s offensive line (which has allowed constant pressure and 15sacks through four games) actually has to turn in an unlikely stellarperformance if the unit wishes to move the ball with any consistency.

TJP: Geno Smith is riding high off of the best game he has played so far, Monday night against the Falcons?  How do you see Dick Lebeau and company attacking Geno, and attempting to put him back down to size?

NPC: It would be nice to see Dick LeBeau not employing the same cake-easy soft-zonewhich opposing signal-callers have exploited in recent years with patient“dinking-and-dunking.” My hope is that LeBeau can find ways for his defense topressure Smith, have his corners play more “press man,” and force turnover-pronerookie to make mistakes.

Of course, that is easier said than done. Pittsburgh’s issues when it has cometo stopping the run, creating consistent pocket collapse, and even tackling donot inspire much hope that this unit can turn things around any time soon.

TJP: What is your prediction for Sunday’s result?

NPC: The Jets will win this game, and should emerge victorious by a comfortablemargin. Pittsburgh’s offensive line will be unable to stop Muhammad Wilkersonand Sheldon Richardson, and Roethlisberger will be eating the turf for most ofthe game. I seriously doubt that the Steelers’ offense will score more than onetouchdown in this game.

The Steelers’ weak run defense will be exploited mercilessly by Bilal Powell,Mike Goodson, and the rest of the Jets’ running backs behind their stout offensive line, and Smith should be set up in many 2nd & 3rd and manageable situations when LeBeau’s soft-zone scheme allows the youngster to play “pitch-and-catch” for four to six yards on first andsecond downs. I believe that Smith will have ample time to throw and the Jets’ offense will not turn the ball over once.

Jets 27

Steelers 10

Thanks very much to Dominc for his time.  Check out “Nice Pick Cowher” at the link noted at the top, they do a great job covering all things related to the Steelers.