The TOJ Staff with their predictions for Jets/Steelers
Chris Gross – Jets 24, Steelers 17 – Since I couldn’t have been more off with my prediction last week, it’s only fitting I deliver a prediction of redemption. With so many key players, for both teams, sitting out this week, it is extremely difficult to gage where this game will go. Kyle Wilson, who will be starting opposite Antonio Cromartie with Darrelle Revis out, has a huge opportunity to prove that the Jets can rely on him to play well consistently. Wilson will likely be matched up with Antonio Brown, who has become one of Ben Roethlisberger’s favorite targets over the past year, and will certainly have his hands full. Brown has big play ability and consistently finds holes in coverage to make key grabs and keep the chains moving for Pittsburgh. Wilson has a huge task at hand, but should be excited about the opportunity to prove himself.
Rob Celletti – As exhilarating as week one was, it was just that: week one. I’m an optimist (I picked the Jets to win 10 games this year, after all), but I also don’t want to start drinking the Kool-aid just because the Jets walloped a suspect football team with a mediocre quarterback at home. Sunday’s game will be a battle. Pittsburgh is a quality football team, and even though they’re banged up, I expect a motivated Steelers side that will be anxious to wash the taste of their opening week loss out of their mouths. It will be a hard-fought game in which both teams will play well. The Jets won’t have such an easy time throwing the ball, but Sanchez will put up representative numbers. He’ll also get sacked in key spots by a Pittsburgh defense that will be more creative and active than Buffalo. Also, remember, the Jets put the ball on the ground three times against the Bills and Sanchez was intercepted once. If they make mistakes like that in this game, Pittsburgh will capitalize. In the end, an even game comes down to the final possession, and Pittsburgh does enough to win, 24-21.
Chris Celletti – Most people probably think this is going to be a knock down, drag ‘em out kind of game. I think both teams will look and say “Hey, their best defensive player is out, let’s take a few shots here” (as long as Troy Polamalu and/or James Harrison don’t play, with Darrelle Revis already ruled out), and we could be in for a more high scoring affair than most people think. I don’t think the Steelers are nearly as tough as we’re used to them being, which isn’t to say that they’re not good. They’re still good, but in a different way with a more dynamic offense led by three very good receivers. Mark Sanchez will have more success through the air, while Shonn Greene will continue to find a way to gain three yards, no more or less, on literally every play. The game will come down to wire, with maybe a big special teams play deciding things. In a bit of an upset I’ll take Jets 31, Steelers 27
Mike Donnelly – This game is going to be a much tougher test than last week against the paper champion Buffalo Bills. The Steelers are not the powerhouse team they were a few years ago, and they’ll be without mainstays James Harrison, Troy Polamalu, and Rashard Mendenhall, but they’re still a formidable opponent — especially at Heinz Field. The Jets will be without Darrelle Revis of course as well, which is a major blow, bit I expect the defense to exploit he Steelers Swiss cheese offensive line and make up for the absence of #24, pulling out a nail biter late in the 4th quarter 23-20.