In the Jets vs Steelers Week 5 matchup, here are the top three keys to victory for Gang Green.
Nov 9, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) passes against the New York Jets during the third quarter at MetLife Stadium. The Jets defeated the Steelers 20-13. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
The New York Jets will travel to the ‘Steel City’ to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 5. Ryan Fitzpatrick and Gang Green are as close as they can get to rock bottom after falling to the Seattle Seahawks last Sunday. The quarterback now has 10 interceptions and his team is 1-3. A loss to the six-time Super Bowl champions would put them in a hole they have no shot at getting out of.
Head coach Todd Bowles‘ defense hasn’t looked sharp either. Cornerback Darrelle Revis is banged up, the safeties are getting exposed by tight ends, the pass rush isn’t applying pressure and every linebacker besides Darron Lee looks sluggish. Whether it’s leaving the corners out to dry or not blitzing the quarterback, the coaching staff has mismanaged the defense on several occasions too. Things need to be perfect on both ends for the Jets to have any chance against the Steelers.
Pittsburgh, on the other hand, is amped up. After getting smoked in Philadelphia 34-3, they rebounded and clobbered the Chiefs 43-14. Star running back Le’Veon Bell looked like his normal self while Ben Roethlisberger shredded Kansas City for five touchdowns. The defense seems to have resurged under coordinator Keith Butler with a lot of their youngsters making plays on the football as well. The secondary will get plenty of cracks at creating turnovers since Fitzpatrick should be airing it out early and often.
This is a game that can out of hand for New York. Bowles and company need to do their best to stay composed by realizing there isn’t anything to lose in this contest. No one is expecting you to win and a majority of the fanbase believes the season is over. Play hungry and focused to leave it all on the field. Without further ado, here are the top three things the Jets need to do to shock the world.
Next: 3. Contain Antonio Brown
3. Contain Antonio Brown
This is obviously easier said than done, but this is something Gang Green must do. Antonio Brown is arguably the best player in football and undisputedly a complete receiver. He’s unbelievably quick, he has great hands, he can shed tackles and he goes up for the ball as if he’s 6’5. You can do anything with this guy and he’ll produce. Whether he’s throwing, catching or running with the ball, containing ‘AB’ is so important in beating the Steelers.
Through four outings in 2016, the All-Pro has already recorded 45 targets. On those 45 targets, he hauled in 28 passes for 369 yards and four touchdowns. Of course, all the looks came without Bell active, although DeAngelo Williams, Markus Wheaton, Sammie Coates, Eli Rogers, and Jesse James all made significant impacts. Brown was still fighting for targets in what’s been the league’s most explosive offense.
What you can look for the Jets coaching staff to do is put the safeties deep throughout the game. For the most part, they seem to have learned their lesson after surrendering long touchdowns to A.J. Green in Week 1 and Marquise Goodwin in Week 2. Revis is listed as doubtful, leaving Buster Skrine and Marcus Williams on the outside. Bowles would be smart to jam at the line with help over the top all day. These two are capable of getting the job done as long as the staff puts them in the right position.
Next: 2. Get red zone stops
Oct 2, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Seattle Seahawks running back C.J. Spiller (28) catches a ball for a touchdown against the New York Jets in the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports
2. Get red zone stops
There’s no hiding that New York has been abysmal in the red zone as of late. Russell Wilson was able to extend plays, Travis Kelce did damage in Week 3 and even stopping the run inside the 20 has been a struggle. The Steelers are a team that feasts near the endzone. Thus far, they score touchdowns on 80% of their trips to the red zone and at home, they’ve come away with seven points on every trip.
Bell is back and things can actually become more efficient for Pittsburgh. The guy is a rushing and receiving threat with a chip on his shoulder following his three-game suspension. What makes him so good is his ability to be patient by letting holes develop instead of trying to create them himself. Like a running back should, he allows his offensive line to do their job. Players like Maurkice Pouncey, David DeCastro, and Ramon Foster have molded into reliable linemen as a result.
The Jets have to hold Todd Haley‘s offense to field goals or else this one can get ugly. Roethlisberger has given them trouble in previous meetings, so the same can happen in today’s action. If he continues to elude sacks, look for him to find Brown, James and the rest of his weapons for six. The pass rush will need to execute and make the impact they’re supposed to make. Outscoring the Steelers is a tough feat, however, it becomes easier if you bend but don’t break.
Next: 1. Make it simple for Ryan Fitzpatrick
Sep 15, 2016; Orchard Park, NY, USA; New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) throws a pass during the first quarter against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports
1. Make it simple for Ryan Fitzpatrick
Fitzpatrick is a mess at the moment. He has 10 interceptions, two fumbles (neither lost), a mere four touchdowns and a 55.8% completion percentage. If you think he deserves the $12M he was given, you’re warped. Some way somehow, offensive coordinator Chan Gailey must make things more simple for the veteran. His 2016 campaign is cringe-worthy and it needs to be turned around before it’s too late.
No Eric Decker is clearly a huge blow to the offense and Gailey has no other choice but to find someone else who can step up. We haven’t seen enough of Bilal Powell who emerged towards the end of 2015. As a pass catcher, he was one of Fitzpatrick’s go-to guys during the five-game winning streak that nearly propelled the team into the postseason. Speaking of go-to guys, where has Brandon Marshall been? He had a solid outing against Seattle, although a number of those passes were forced.
What the Jets need to think about doing is getting their quarterback completions. By no means should they be in any rush to get downfield. This raises Fitzpatrick’s confidence and gives the team the best chance to win. Gailey has to give Marshall, Powell, Matt Forte, and Quincy Enunwa a heavy dosage of short, quick passes to get the Harvard graduate in a rhythm right off the bat. This is the biggest key in New York turning heads in Pittsburgh.