3 key matchups to watch in the NY Jets' Week 4 game against the Steelers

NY Jets, Elijah Moore
NY Jets, Elijah Moore / Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
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3. Corey Davis, Elijah Moore, and Garrett Wilson vs. the Steelers cornerbacks

The Steelers will be without starting cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon (hamstring) this Sunday. Some fans of the black and yellow would argue that it's a positive development.

Levi Wallace will take Witherspoon's place as an every-down outside cornerback, with former Jet Arthur Maulet expected to play a more significant role in the slot.

The Steelers’ top cornerback, Cameron Sutton, was a late addition to the league-mandated injury report. He was listed as a limited practice participant on Friday because of a groin injury that apparently occurred during practice. Sutton, though, was given a full “go” for Sunday.

Nevertheless, whether Sutton plays healthy or not, the Steelers have had struggles in their secondary. The absence of Watt has certainly made life easier for opposing passing games. A week ago, Jacoby Brissett had two touchdowns and a 109.6 passer rating against Pittsburgh's defense.

Pittsburgh has, for what seems like an eternity, employed a physical style of press cornerback play in their secondary, with lanky corners jamming receivers off the line of scrimmage. But that strategy only works if you get home quickly with your pass rush.

The Steelers have allowed the ninth most yards receiving on the eighth most receptions to wide receivers this year. Keep in mind that the Steelers have already faced two of the most running back-centric offenses in the league in the Patriots and Browns.

With a less-than-100-percent Cameron Sutton likely following emerging star Garrett Wilson around, Corey Davis and Elijah Moore need to win their individual matchups against Levi Wallace and Arthur Maulet — two players who haven't been tested heavily this season. Neither has been tasked with covering opposing teams' best receivers.

The Jets are fifth in the league in passing yards, but 31st in yards per attempt. As a result of the latter, the check-down has been a popular play for New York's offense. A necessity because of shaky pass protection, but also a sign that receivers are not creating separation to make plays down the field.

Elijah Moore and Corey Davis are simply not getting open enough to make plays of significance during games. They have to on Sunday if the Jets want to win.

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Sunday's Jets/Steelers game is all about finding an opening for daylight. The losing team will continue to dwell in darkness. At the same time, the winning team instills new faith and hope into their season.