Matchups

Pittsburgh (7-2) at New York Jets (1-8)

Pittsburgh Steelers Defense
1st Ranked against the Run
1st Ranked against the Pass
Pittsburgh Steelers Offense
2nd Ranked in Rushing
18th Ranked in Passing

New York Jets Defense
32nd Ranked against the Run
24th Ranked against the Pass
New York Jets Offense
22nd Ranked in Rushing
22nd Ranked in Passing

The Pittsburgh Steelers defense is the best in the NFL hands down. They have allowed fewer rushing yards, fewer passing yards and fewer points per game than any other team in the league. That kind of performance will be difficult for the Jets to overcome, but at least NY quarterback Kellen Clemens has shown some positive energy since coming in to replace the beleaguered Chad Pennington. Clemens, the Jets second-round draft pick in 2006, completed 23 of 42 for 226 yards and a touchdown, and rushed 7 times for 48 yards in an overtime loss to the Redskins two weeks ago.

The bad news is that the Redskins game ending final drive featured a running attack that the Jets who own the NFL’s worst defense against the run simply could not stop, and that problem will only get worse when the Steelers come to town. Pittsburgh has the 2nd best rushing offense in the NFL this season featuring running back Willie Parker. Parker is the number two rusher in the league second only to the Vikings rookie phenom Adrian Peterson. And even though the Steelers are only ranked 18th in the league in passing yardage per game, Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has quietly become the second highest rated QB in the NFL next to Tom Brady, and is third in the league with 23 touchdown passes.

But every cloud has a silver lining, and for the Jets it’s Leon Washington, the second year running back out of Florida State. Washington is the league leader in kickoff returns gaining an average of 33.5 yards every time he touches the football. The Steelers are one of the worst teams at defending kickoff returns; they rank 27th in the NFL in that category. So with a little luck the Jets could actually pull off their second win of the season this Sunday.

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