The Pittsburgh Steelers will take on the New York Jets Sunday at MetLife Stadium and below are seven things to watch for in the game.
To Beachum, Or Not To Beachum – Mike Adams has been benched and the Steelers traded for Levi Brown during the bye week. So now we wait and see who starts at left tackle. The Jets front seven is ferocious and they can really get after the quarterback, so whoever does start will have their hands full. Should Kelvin Beachum indeed start, it will be his first at left tackle since he was drafted. He did, however, start all four years at the position at SMU. If he’s not the answer, the Steelers will have to see if Brown is.
Cam He Make A Difference – Cameron Heyward will start at left defensive end Sunday ahead of Ziggy Hood as the team is looking to increase his snaps. Heyward, who has seen most of his playing time in sub packages through the first four games, has been able to provide pressure and has knocked down two passes so far this season. Pass rushing aside, Heyward’s primary job will be to help shore up the Steelers run defense on the left side that has been burned for two runs over 50 yards already this season.
Air Bell – The Jets defensive front has been solid against the run so far so this season while the Steelers have struggled at running the football. That being said, with rookie running back Le’Veon Bell now back healthy, they can still use him in the passing game in an effort to get him the ball out in space. Bell caught four passes for 27 yards in his debut against the Minnesota Vikings and it would wise to equal or exceed that number of receptions against the Jets.
Cromart-knee – Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie is questionable for the game because of a non-contact injury suffered to his knee Friday during practice. The MRI was negative and Cromartie thinks he will play. The Jets physical defender figures to see a lot of Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown if he plays and this matchup could figure greatly into the outcome of the game. Despite the Steelers being winless, Brown is off to a hot start and this figures to be his toughest matchup so far this season.
Neuter The Cat – While they don’t use it a ton, the Jets have had success running the wildcat this season and we are sure to see it a few times Sunday with wide receiver Jeremy Kerley and running backs Bilal Powell and Mike Goodson all being involved. The Steelers outside linebackers have to have strong containment on the outside to force the play back inside to help.
Protect Ben’s Balls – It sounds so simple and such a copout to keep pointing to turnovers, but in reality it is one of the main reasons the Steelers enter this game 0-4. Eight of the 11 turnovers by the offense have come from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who has fumbled three times and thrown five interceptions in the first four games. If they don’t turn the ball over against the Jets, they should win the game. It really is that simple.
Tackle The Problems – The Steelers defense had a horrible game against the Vikings and the main cause was poor tackling. That poor tackling led to two explosive plays that went for touchdowns and in total the unit missed 15 in the game. If the defense tackles like they did in London, it’s going to be another long afternoon that will likely finish with the team being 0-5.