Biggest X-factor of Week 5 for Jets against Steelers
By Paul A. Esden Jr.
The New York Jets are dangerously close to letting their season spiral out of control. That can all change with a momentous road win in Pittsburgh. What is the biggest x-factor in this game?
This is going to sound simple for the New York Jets, but the x-factor this week is pretty blunt. Contain the stars on the Pittsburgh Steelers but it’s not going to be easy. They have a ton of talented players on both offense and defense.
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But if the Steelers’ stars take over the game, it’ll be a blow-out. Antonio Brown is one of the top receivers in the game, Le’Veon Bell is back and better than ever, and oh yeah Jets fans know who “Big” Ben Roethlisberger is.
He’s been haunting Jets fans nightmares for years. From the AFC Championship game to countless regular season matchups, Roethlisberger has typically had the Jets number. But the last time these two teams played share a lot of similarities to this matchup.
The glaring difference is that this year’s team wasn’t on an eight-game losing streak. But the point remains, there’s not a lot of faith in the Jets going into this game on Sunday. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has thrown nine interceptions in two games. While the team has played poorly in every phase of the game.
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On the other side of the coin, the Steelers appear to be firing on all cylinders after their blip in the radar game against the Philadelphia Eagles.
But things looked grim the last time these two teams faced off in 2014. Roethlisberger was coming off a six-touchdown game and the Jets weakness was their secondary.
Somehow someway, the Jets were able to craft the perfect game-plan. Can they do it again? Well, they certainly have more tools to work with in their secondary cupboard. It’s going to be very difficult.
The lone chance the Jets have is minimizing the impact of the Steelers biggest stars. The Jets show their defensive pressure potential in Week 1. They need to find a way to get their front-seven going early and often.
While the Jets have one of the worst turnover differentials in the NFL, they have rarely given their offense short fields to work with and that limits what they are capable of.
The Steelers have so many weapons. Bell is easily the best back they’ve faced this season, while if Darrelle Revis (listed as “doubtful) can go, he’ll likely be matched up with Brown.
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This x-factor may seem simplistic and a bit generalized, but it’s exactly what the Jets need to do to have any chance in this game. They’re overmatched and despite their talent, they haven’t been able to put all the pieces together. If they want to win, their defense must perform as a cohesive unit into being a dominating x-factor in Week 5.