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Steelers Week 4 Preview vs The Jets

The Pittsburgh Steelers come off a road loss to division rival Cleveland. We look at Pittsburgh’s upcoming opponent and what to expect on Sunday.

Getting to .500

This Sunday the Pittsburgh Steelers will host another AFC East opponent in the New York Jets. A common theme repeats itself when the Steelers play yet another young quarterback, this one however is a bit more complicated. Zach Wilson is expected to make his 2022 debut this weekend sending Joe Flacco to the backup role.

ICYMI: Zach Wilson is expected to make his debut with the Jets this Sunday. 👀 — theScore (@theScore) September 29, 2022

The main objective on Sunday is to always win, but this win would get Pittsburgh back to even on the season. There are still a ton of questions to be answered. Will the play calling change? Will the defense send pressure on Zach Wilson? Will Mitch Trubisky stay at the helm? If the Steelers want to win Sunday these are the questions that need to be addressed.

Know Your Opponent

Now that we know Zach Wilson will possibly be playing on Sunday, the offense for the Jets will be hard to predict. Besides Wilson, a few things are still predictable. The Jets’ offensive line has looked extremely bad, through 3 games the Jets have given up 9 sacks. This should be a feast day for the front seven of Pittsburgh, especially the NFL sack leader, Alex Highsmith.

<img class="lazyload" decoding="async" src=";w=916" alt="Alex Highsmith of the Pittsburgh Steelers sacks Joe Burrow in Week 1" width="600" height="400" />

Alex Highsmith sacks Joe Burrow (Joshua A. Bickel/Associated Press)

Reviewing the film on the Jets offense, you notice the Jets love to line up in the shotgun. Joe Flacco is leading the NFL in pass attempts over the first 3 weeks of the season. The Jets’ offense is very similar to the Steelers, Joe Flacco ranked 30th in yards per pass attempt throwing only 5.8 yards per attempt. For reference, Mitch Trubisky ranks dead last at 32nd with 5.5 yards per passing attempt.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Jets are stout. Sheldon Rankins and Quinnen Williams man the defensive line, A name most will remember is CJ Mosley at the linebacker position, Sauce Gardner the new rookie out of the Cincinnati Bearcats is on the outside, and Lamarcus Joyner is at safety. Those are just a few of the names for this young Jets defense.

The Jets do not blitz a ton ranking 26th in blitz percentage at 18.1%. They love running a single high safety in man to man with a linebacker running a zone and then on 3rd and long they will either blitz or run a zone coverage scheme. The Jets give up just over 100 yards a game on the ground and give up over 230 passing yards. The Jets also allowed 27 points per game ranking 26th in that category.

The #Jets defense has just 5 sacks through 3 games. That ranks 6th-worst in the NFL. They’re allowing 27 points per game which also ranks 6th-worst. This is a bad defense despite all the talent they have. Something needs to change. — The Jet Press (@TheJetPress) September 26, 2022

The Steelers Game Plan

One of the main objectives for the offense this week should be to move the ball on the ground, the secondary for the Jets has been pretty good. I expect the same Pittsburgh defense that we are accustomed to, short throws and chain-moving football. Pittsburgh needs to avoid the 3rd and long scenarios as well as converting on those 3rd downs, the Steelers currently rank 24th in 3rd down percentage at 33%. This would be a perfect week to build the confidence of the offense and put some points on the board.

Steelers now 1/9 on third down. 2/13 over the last six quarters. #Steelers — Alex Kozora (@Alex_Kozora) September 23, 2022

Defensively this one will be tough to call, a new quarterback means endless possibilities. In my article on Steelers vs young quarterbacks, I explained how dominant the Steelers’ defense is to the adolescent quarterback. I still stand behind that article and think this defense can fluster Wilson. I expect to see a ton of nickel formation from the Steelers because of the abundance of play calls from the shotgun. I do expect Pittsburgh to put a lot of pressure on Wilson and force him to make errant throws, especially with how poorly the Jets’ offensive line has performed so far.

The Conclusion

This is the first game the Steelers are favored by Vegas in the 2022 season. This game, I believe, will show us what path Pittsburgh will take this season. In a loss, this very well could be Tomlin’s first year with a losing record as a head coach. It is also the first year without Ben Roethlisberger which doesn’t bold well for Tomlin’s reputation.

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Pittsburgh Steelers Head Coach, Mike Tomlin (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

I never want to say in week 4 of the season that a game is a must-win. But with a brutal upcoming schedule, I do believe this game is somewhat of a must-win if Pittsburgh wants to compete this year. It will be interesting to watch what this Jets offense does with Zach Wilson under center. However, I do think it is a task that the Pittsburgh defense is up for. The Steelers will play on Sunday at 1 pm EST, be sure to tune in to see our boys in the black and gold try to get back to even on the season.

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