Rex Ryan took the podium for his news conference on Friday afternoon and delivered the piece of news that no Jets fan wanted to hear.
Cornerback Darrelle Revis' concussion has not improved enough for him to play against the Steelers on Sunday, leaving the Jets to try to stop Ben Roethlisberger, Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown without the services of their best defensive player. Revis was able to take part in a non-contact practice on Friday, so the hope is that this will be the only week that the Jets have to go with Kyle Wilson and Antonio Cromartie as their starting corners.
Revis' absence hurts all the more because the Steelers defense looks like it is going to be at something less than full strength when kickoff rolls around. Linebacker James Harrison appears likely to miss his second straight game and All-World safety Troy Polamalu is looking doubtful to play because of a calf injury.
With those two players out of the lineup, the hope was that Mark Sanchez can keep on rolling from last week and do some damage through the air. That's still the hope, obviously, but it's hard to like the Jets' chances of surviving a shootout with the Steelers this Sunday.
It would be easier if tight end Dustin Keller was playing, perhaps, but he's going to miss the game with a hamstring injury. Jeff Cumberland did a nice job filling in for an achy Keller last week, but this isn't the Bills defense (even without Harrison and Polamalu) and you'd feel better about the offense if Sanchez had his security blanket.
Should all that not be enough for you, the Jets will also play without starting linebacker Bryan Thomas thanks to his own hamstring injury. The Jets did fine after Thomas left last week's game, but, again, you'd like to be at full strength rolling into a good team's home stadium.
So it looks like this game is going to boil down to which of the two teams does a better job of handling their injuries, which includes the loss of Steelers rookie guard David DeCastro to a knee injury in the preseason. The job is going to be harder for the Jets, simply because the Steelers offense is more potent than the Jets group, but it won't be impossible if they can possess the ball for long drives that put points on the board.
It will be a big test for the offensive line and for Sanchez, larger even than the one they passed against the Bills last week. The defense has always been the trigger for success in the Ryan Era, but things will have to work differently for the Jets to get to 2-0 this week.