Every week during the season, we’ll scout out the Jets' next opponent. This week, that opponent is the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The last time the Jets were in Pittsburgh, it seemed possible to picture a Jets Super Bowl title.
That image flickered in the head right up until the moment that Ben Roethlisberger hit Antonio Brown for a first down in the final seconds of the 2010 AFC Championship Game. The Jets had mounted a furious comeback, scoring 19 straight points after spotting the Steelers 24 of them, but the end result was a bitter loss all the same.
Then came the failed promises, the in-fighting and everything else through the summer that led to that cathartic Week One win over the Bills. Will another trip to Pittsburgh spell the end of another optimistic moment in Jets history?
You could certainly pick a better week to catch the Steelers. They aren't going to be too interested in starting out 0-2 in a season that carries high expectations, and they should be healthier against the Jets than they were in Denver on Sunday night.
It's pretty much the same Steelers team we've been watching since Ben Roethlisberger took over. Older and a bit creakier on defense, perhaps, but the team that lost to the Broncos wasn't markedly different than those other teams.
That could change when new offensive coordinator Todd Haley fully gets his hooks into things, but, for now, the Jets should have a good idea what they're up against. So will you after this rundown of things to know for Sunday afternoon.
Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown - Wallace missed all of training camp and the preseason while agitating for a new contract, but he's back and the offense is much more dangerous when he's a part of it. He forces teams to keep an eye out for the bomb while Brown makes hash of the area left open in the shorter parts of the field.
The Jets' ability to stop them will come down to Darrelle Revis' availability. If he plays, they can balance the two but if his concussion leaves him on the sideline the Jets will struggle to keep the Steelers off the scoreboard.
LaMarr Woodley - The Jets offensive line did a fantastic job shutting down the Bills last week, but Woodley leads a Steelers defense that's going to force them to prove they can do it all over again. If James Harrison plays after missing the opener, the Jets line will really have to earn it.
Bad Memories - Heinz Field was the site of the aforementioned AFC title game, as well as the agonizing 2005 playoff loss when Doug Brien missed the field goals that would have won the game in the fourth quarter and overtime. Sanchez did lead the team to a win there in the 2010 regular season, so perhaps it is just a playoff curse.
Troy Polamalu - The dandruff shampoo pitchman has been banged up as much as any player in the league over the last few years. It's done very little to hurt his game and he remains a lurking force of menace on every single snap.
Sanchez has to recognize the menace or he'll wind up trying to tackle a fast-moving man with hair flying out the back of his helmet.