The circus that is the New York Jets will be rolling into town this weekend and based on how they performed in their Week 1 matchup against the Bills as compared to how the Steelers performed against the Broncos, the biggest question will be what can Steeler Nation expect to see Sunday afternoon? Unfortunately the Steelers are already dealing with injury woes with both James Harrison and Troy Polamalu questionable if not doubtful for Sunday’s game. The Jets are also dealing with injury issues that could potentially keep former Pitt star Darrell Revis from traveling to Pittsburgh as he’s coming off a concussion and hasn’t yet been cleared for contact. And then there’s Tebow.
It’s hard to tell this early if the Jets offense is for real. The NFL is a league of overreacting but as we saw last night with the Bears falling apart in Green Bay; what looks good one week can completely fail the next. What is completely amusing to me is the Jets complaining about being portrayed as a circus by the media. Between Rex Ryan’s mouth, the insane coverage of everything Tebow does, and all the other characters, how could they not be described as a circus? The players might not have brought it on themselves, their front office and ESPN has a lot to do with why the Jets appear to be a train wreck waiting to happen. But it’s kind of like when a girl wears provocative clothing and then gets upset when someone calls her a slut. You might not be a slut, but you’re doing an awfully good impersonation of one. Do the Jets really think they can fool their entire schedule of teams this season with their possible wildcat formations featuring Tebow? Whether or not the Bills failed as miserably as they did last week because they over prepared for Tebow remains to be seen. But seriously, the Jets haven’t all of a sudden become an offensive powerhouse that will score 40+ points every Sunday.
When it comes to the Steelers, what can we expect to see and maybe more importantly, who can we expect to see? Latest reports are James Harrison is still a no-go with the nagging knee injury that popped up out of nowhere during training camp and Troy Polamalu hasn’t yet practiced for the week either. The Steelers defense has a lot to make up for after disappearing during the second half of last week’s game in Denver. Considering that last season they rebounded from the week 1 thumping by the Ravens to lead the league in defense, it’s certainly possible. It’s hard to get too excited to get Ryan Clark back on the field if Polamalu might be taking his spot on the sidelines. Nothing against Ryan Mundy, but Clark and Polamalu play off of each other like no other safety combo in the league. Kind of like how LaMarr Woodley and James Harrison play off each other on the outside.
One way to not have to worry about the Jets offensive and how potent they can be is to just keep them on the sidelines. The Steelers had possession almost a full quarter longer than the Broncos did last Sunday, and aside from Manning’s 71 yard pass to Thomas that took all of 30 seconds, it worked very well for the Steelers. The Steelers only rushed for 76 yards and with Mendenhall fully participating in practice this week, he could be a game changer. Also, Ben has yet to air the ball out to Wallace, and you know he’s just dying to do that especially with the possibility of not having to worry about Darrell Revis. I’d expect more no-huddle from the offense as well and I hope they continue their success on 3rd downs. They say in college football that the biggest improvements are made from week 1 to week 2; this might just be the case for the Steelers as well.
Then there’s Tebow. Does Steeler Nation want revenge against Tebow? You bet your ass we do. Is that actually a possibility for this game? Maybe not. Tebow rushed for all of 11 yards for the Jets last week and was relatively a nonfactor for the entire game. There’s no telling how much time he’ll be on the field for the Jets this week, I just hope it’s long enough for LaMarr Woodley to get to him like he should have in Denver in January. I’m banking on the Steelers defense correcting the mistakes of last week, getting to the ball better and putting pressure on Sanchez or Tebow. It’s time for the Steelers defense to redeem themselves and for the offense to assert themselves. Crank that Renegade and Here We Go Steelers!
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