Week 6 Game Preview: Steelers vs. Jets
The Pittsburgh Steelers (0-4) may be off to one of their worst starts in franchise history, but with the leaders in the AFC North coming into week-six action with records of 3-2, the postseason is still very much in reach – that is, if the Steelers start to turn things around now.
When looking at the schedule before the season began, most bettors would have picked the Steelers to win their week-six match-up against the New York Jets, but with a winning record and a young versatile quarterback in Geno Smith, the Jets find themselves on the favorite line – albeit by a slim margin of two points – against the winless Steelers at home this Sunday.
Despite their shaky start, there’s no question the Jets – who were an absolute disaster last year with Mark Sanchez at the helm – have earned their place as the favorite this week. After turning the ball over 11 times in his first four starts, Smith was sure-handed and confident on Monday night against the Falcons, leading the Jets to an impressive 30-28 road win while completing 80 percent of his passes and avoiding a single turnover.
Though the Jets have only posted back-to-back wins once in the last 24 games, they have a good shot at doing it against the Steelers. Typically known for their intimidating defense, the old Steel Curtain has looked toothless this season, as it is the only defense that has failed to force a single turnover and has managed a league-low four sacks.
The normally productive Pittsburgh run game has also been absent in 2013, as the Steelers come into this week’s road battle averaging just 58 yards per game (31st in NFL) on the ground. However, with highly-touted rookie Le’Veon Bell back in the lineup for the second straight game, the Steelers are hoping to revive their rushing attack. Bell didn’t dazzle, but showed promise last week in rushing for 57 yards on 16 carries against the Vikings.
Unfortunately for the Steelers, yards of any kind may be hard to come by against the Jets, whose defense is ranked second in the NFL in fewest yards allowed. The Jets should also be able to get to Ben Roethlisberger, who has already been sacked 15 times this season.
Most bettors expect the Steelers will wake up at some point this season, but it may not be this week as they encounter a Jets team that is heating up. Look for New York to cover -2 in the win as it improves to 4-2 on the young season.