Steelers: Week 5 Preview vs. New York Jets
The Pittsburgh Steelers wasted no time in responding to a loss when they dismantled the Chiefs—a formidable opponent—and the first of four-straight AFC opponents that could have playoff implications down the road.
This week, they start a three-game series against the AFC East when the New York Jets venture into Heinz Field—coming off a 27-17 loss at home to the Seahawks.
The Jets stand at 1-3 on the season, and have turned the ball over quite a bit through four games—currently minus-10 in turnover margin. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has thrown nine interceptions in the past two games—six coming in one game—a 24-3 loss to Kansas City. He has 10 interceptions overall, and just four touchdown passes.
Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers offense should be licking their chops in anticipation for Sunday. The Jets’ defense has allowed its share of big plays thus far—17 completions of 20-plus yards and seven of 40-plus yards. Roethlisberger might also face a Darrelle Revis-less secondary. Revis is currently listed as doubtful due to a hamstring injury.
As questionable as the secondary has been however, the front seven has had its share of consistency, and defensive end Leonard Williams leads the team with four sacks. That presents a challenge for Pittsburgh given the injuries surrounding the offensive line. With tackles Ryan Harris and Marcus Gilbert both ruled out, that leaves Chris Hubbard as the man for the job.
“We have faith and trust and belief in whoever the next man up is,” Roethlisberger said earlier in the week. “We’ve been able to do that and proven that over the years here. Guys prepare themselves to be ready to go. We’ll have faith and trust in whoever needs to be out there.”
That could allow for a heavier dose of DeAngelo Williams and Le’Veon Bell in the run game. Bell made his 2016 debut against the Chiefs and ran for 144 yards on 18 carries. He also caught five passes for 34 yards. Given the versatility of Bell, the Steelers ran a number of plays with both Williams and Bell on the field at the same time, and will likely implement more on Sunday.
“It’s pretty unique,” Tomlin said during his weekly press conference in reference to Bell’s versatility. “But we’re going to see a guy in Matt Forte who’s probably done it for over a decade. I thought a lot about Matt Forte as I stood at Le’Veon Bell’s pro day and watched his balanced skill-set. In the running game, in the passing game, route running, ball handling and so forth. I thought about Matt Forte a lot. So we’re excited about having Le’Veon Bell at our disposal, but we also understand what we’re facing on the other side of the ball as we go into the stadium this week.”
Chris Galiszewski is the lead writer for the Pittsburgh Steelers at PFS. Follow him on twitter @cgaliszewski