Jets At Steelers: When Pittsburgh Has The Ball

(Sports Network) – There are not many quarterbacks who take a week-in, week-out beating like Ben Roethlisberger (2,336 passing yards, 13 TD, 5 INT), who showed no ill effects from the broken nose he suffered in Week 13 against Baltimore this past week versus the Bengals. He’s averaged just under 260 passing yards per game on the year, with wide receivers Mike Wallace (46 receptions, 946 yards, 8 TD) and Hines Ward (49 receptions, 4 TD) having benefited the most from Roethlisberger’s presence. Wallace serves as Pittsburgh’s main big-play threat and is among the league leaders at 20.6 yards per reception. However, the second-year speedster could have his work cut out for him this week, as he figures to be matched up against New York All-Pro corner Darrelle Revis. With the Jets playing mostly man coverage, the Steelers will certainly utilize returning tight end Heath Miller (33 receptions, 1 TD), who missed last week’s game with a concussion. A ground attack that ranks a respectable 10th overall in rushing yards (120.2 ypg) is led by running back Rashard Mendenhall (1,073 rushing yards, 9 TD, 20 receptions).

Pittsburgh’s offense has managed just two touchdowns in the last three games and could find some tough sledding this week, as they face a Jets defense that ranks third in the NFL in yards allowed. Albeit against a lesser opponent, New York’s stingy secondary allowed Miami just 55 yards through the air this past week while holding the Dolphins to 131 yards overall. New York’s defense is led by one of the top cornerback duos in the NFL in Antonio Cromartie (35 tackles, 3 INT) and Revis (21 tackles, 8 PD). The Jets have also had success against the run, ranking third-best in the league with an allowance of 88.5 yards per contest. Defensive lineman Sione Pouha (55 tackles, 2 sacks) and Mike DeVito (50 tackles) have done a terrific job clogging the middle, while end Shaun Ellis (34 tackles, 5 sacks) is one of the few Jets who have gotten to the quarterback consistently this year. The Jets rank 11th in the league with 32 sacks, but took down Miami’s Chad Henne five times in the Week 14 loss. Already without safety Jim Leonhard, the Jets lost replacement Eric Smith to a concussion last week that will keep him out of Sunday’s test as well.

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