Rex Ryan supporters can rejoice. The spirited Jets coach has his team clicking after a big Monday Night Football win in Atlanta. Their schedule kicks the degree of difficulty up a notch after this weekend, but at least their Week 6 contest against the winless Steelers offers a solid chance to move to 4-2. Here are three reasons to be optimistic that the Jets will get the win on Sunday at MetLife Stadium.
Great run D against weak rushing attack
Only the Broncos — who typically force teams to abandon the run in the second half, allow fewer rushing yards per game than the Jets. Rookie Sheldon Richardson has been a large part of that success, bolstering the defensive line by getting in on 24 tackles through the first five games. The 6-foot-3, 294-pound defensive tackle also doubles as a pass rusher who has 2.5 sacks already. His presence isn’t going to do the Steelers running game — 31st in the NFL in yards per game — any favors, even with rookie Le’Veon Bell finally healthy.
Geno to the rescue
The Jets’ better-known rookie contributor, quarterback Geno Smith, is coming off a breakout game (16-20, 199 yards, three touchdowns, no turnovers) that earned him AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors. Pittsburgh is no slouch against the pass, but if Smith can come close to duplicating the success he found in the 30-28 win on Monday night, his Jets will be just fine.
Pittsburgh hasn’t won yet
It bears repeating this because the truth is the Steelers just aren’t a very good team right now. Their offensive line is a mess without All-Pro center Maurkice Pouncey. All of their losses prior to last week’s bye were by at least seven points, including allowing backup QB Matt Cassel to lead the Vikings to their only win. Ben Roethlisberger still is Pittsburgh’s quarterback, but these aren’t the Steelers who went to the Super Bowl three times in the last eight seasons.