The Pittsburgh Steelers have dominated the New York Jets, holding an all-time record of 20-5 but travelling to New York has not been a kind trip in recent years for Mike Tomlin’s Steelers. Since 2007, the Steelers are 1-2 on the road against the Jets and it seems as if they have been afraid of the 20-point mark. Not only have Tomlin’s Steelers failed to score more than 19-points in any of those three matchups but they have also not scored more than one touchdown in each of those games. They will likely need more of an surge from their offense if they want to leave the state of New York with a 9-6 record. Here are some more stats that could be helpful or detrimental to the Steelers’ chances.
3.3 – The Steelers will see Le’Veon Bell for nearly the first time in two years this Sunday at Met Life Stadium. Bell famously sat out his entire last season with the Steelers, refusing to sign his franchise tag and then signing with the Jets in the 2019 offseason. While his jersey may now be green instead of black and gold, Bell has found out that the grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence as he has put together his worst season to date. The 27-year old running back has rushed for a career low 3.3 yards per carry while also averaging a career low 52 yards per game. While he may not be having the year he wanted, the Steelers can not take Bell lightly as he is coming off a season high 87-yard rushing performance and will have no shortage of motivation for facing his former team.
7 – From battling mono to seeing ghosts, Sam Darnold has had a eventful second year in the NFL. He has recently started putting his disastrous first few months behind him but if there is one number that should excite the Steelers’ defense, it is the number seven for that is the number of interceptions that Darnold has thrown on the opposing side of the field. It seems that as Darnold gets closer to the end zone, the more prone he has been to making a devastating mistake. Not only have seven of his 12 interceptions come on the other side of the 50-yard line but four of his interceptions have also come in the red zone.
21 – This season for the Steelers almost seems like it is something right out of the Twilight zone. There is no Ben Roethlisberger or Antonio Brown, some have begun to turn on JuJu Smith-Schuster and the most shocking of all, the offensive line has struggled protecting the quarterback. The pass protection has especially struggled since the bye week as the Steelers have allowed 21 sacks in eight games since the bye after allowing just five in the six games prior. In total, the team has allowed 26 sacks which would currently be the most sacks allowed since 2015. With 30 sacks this season, the Jets have not been world beaters at getting to the quarterback but the Steelers desperately need to clean up their act if they want to leave New York one step closer to the postseason.
24 – If you were a fan of last Sunday’s all defense, little offense showdown then there might be a second serving of that this week. The Jets and Steelers have combined to play 28 games this season and neither team has recorded more than 24 first downs in a game yet. In fact, the Steelers have recorded 20 or less first downs in all but one game while the Jets have done it in 11 of 14 games this season. This one may be another game that is decided by field position and defense. The good news is that the Jets have been one of the few teams that have been more inefficient than the Steelers at sustaining drives. The Steelers rank 31st in yards per drive, the Jets rank 32nd. The Steelers rank 29th in points per drive, the Jets rank 32nd. Start to see where this is going? Protect the football, do not make any senseless mistakes and force the other team to work for their yardage. Whichever team can do that better will win.
340 – After the Steelers refused to run the football against the Buffalo Bills, there does not look to be a way to run the football effectively against a Jets’ defense that is allowing just 88.8 rushing yards per game. But numbers can be deceiving and while the Jets have generally done a good job stuffing the run this season, they have struggled tremendously over the last two weeks, surrendering 340 rushing yards. Now, sure, one of these games came against one of the best rushing teams in the NFL in the Baltimore Ravens but the other also came against the bottom feeding Miami Dolphins. The Jets may take the Bills’ formula and stack the box when the Steelers are in heavy personnel but the key for the Steelers will be keeping the Jets honest and running out of formations that do not allow them to stack the box. (Also, please no wildcat, thanks.)