1. Secondary Problems: Antonio Brown and Mike Wallace's all-inclusive, unwanted vacations to Revis Island were cancelled on Saturday due to cloudiness and fog in the head of the Jets' All-Pro cornerback. Replacing him in the starting line-up will be Kyle Wilson, whose name elicits more memories of the isolated island in 2004's Castaway than any lock-down coverage skills he may possess. An obvious downgrade from Revis, WIILLSSSONNN!! recorded an interception in Week 1 but has had a mostly up-and-down tenure with the Jets. New York's secondary played fantastic against the Steelers, recording 3 picks, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery against the Buffalo Bills, but facing Pittsburgh's superior receiving corps without their best cornerback will prove to be a true test for Gang Green's defensive backs. The Steelers, meanwhile, welcome back Ryan Clark to their secondary, but are once again without superstar safety, Troy Polamalu. All eyes will be on if Jets rookie WR, Stephen Hill, can match his Week 1 excellence (89 yards, 2 TDs), but watch out - Hill's been limited all week with a calf injury, and won't be going up against a fellow rookie like he did in Week 1, when he lined up across from Bills CB and the 10th pick of the 2012 NFL draft, Stephen Gilmore.
2. The O-Lines: The Steelers offensive line was a mess against the Denver Broncos last Sunday night, giving up a league-high 5 sacks and 9 tackles for loss. On the flip side, the New York Jets o-line held their ground last Sunday, as a unit that came under so much scrutiny in the preseason for the inept play of former starter and current Ram, Wayne Hunter, gave up no sacks to the Buffalo Bills pash rush (not to mention the stellar play of former practice squad player OT Austin Howard, who neutralized All-Pro DE Mario Williams in Week 1). According to ESPN New York's Rich Cimini, the Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger was forced to throw under pressure 10 times against the Broncos; Sanchez, only twice against the Bills. It will be interesting to see how both teams manage their pass-rush attacks, as the Steelers recorded just 2 sacks against Peyton's Broncos and the Jets recorded 0 on Ryan Fitzpatrick last week. The Steelers will be without LB James Harrison, so look to see how that affects their pressure on the quarterback. For the Jets, look for them to blitz more heavily now that Revis has been ruled out and their secondary seems a bit more vulnerable to the passing game. It will be important for New York to get pressure on the quarterback from their edge rushers, including their free-agent boom last year, Aaron Maybin. Also, the game serves as a litmus test for the early, pass-rushing prowess of Quinton Coples, the Jets' first-round pick who showed flashes of brilliance in the preseason and who will be going up against an o-line that is without a 2012 first-round pick of their own - David DeCastro, the Steelers guard and Stanford product who severely injured his ACL and MCL before the season started.
3. Grounding the Ground 'N Pound: The Steelers run D did a respectable job against the aging Willis McGahee in Week 1, holding him to 14 carries for 64 yards. In order to beat the Jets, the Steelers will have to not only stop Shonn Greene, who looked a bit more powerful last Sunday and had 27 carries for 94 yards and a touchdown, but whatever Wildcat tricks Tony Sparano might throw their way. Tim Tebow, the much ballyhooed acquisition of the Jets this offseason, lined up for the first play of last week's Jets-Bills game as a tight end, and only had 5 carries for 11 yards out of mostly read-option formations. However, the Steelers not only have to worry about more Wildcat/read-option packages, but also have to consider Mark Sanchez's success after these types of plays. Two of Sanchez's first quarter passing touchdowns came directly after Tebow rushes, and the presence of Tebow could cause defenses to get distracted (or, perhaps the site of Tebow merely inspired Sanchez to connect for beautiful touchdowns and quiet the ensuing quarterback controversy that could still brew at any time). Nevertheless, while the Jets may try to use Tebow-based packages on more 1st and 2nd downs in order to set up Sanchez on 3rd down, the Steelers have an experienced, tough, and talented unit that will likely not be phased by these antics. If the Jets are to beat the Steelers, it will have to be due to the arm and play of Mark Sanchez. As for the Steelers, they are once again without Rashard Mendenhall, and Jonathan Dwyer, who looked quick with 43 yards on 9 carries against the Broncos last week, is probable to play. Look for the Jets to rebound from their swiss cheese run-defense performance against the Bills, as they welcome back top run-stuffer Sione Pouha (probable) to the line-up this week.
Key Players Injured: Of those we haven't mentioned, both OLB Bryan Thomas and TE Dustin Keller figure to be out for the Jets this Sunday. Steelers OT Max Starks (illness) is probable to play.
Thought of the Week: Tim Tebow is portrayed as a symbol of virginity, purity, and innocence, while Big Ben has been a subject of sexual scrutiny for different reasons over the last few years. Talk about two quarterbacks who couldn't be depicted differently by the media.
Prediction: Jets 28, Steelers 24. The Jets erase memories of their loss at Heinz Field in the 2010 AFC Championship game. Sanchez continues his dominance in the air, this time completing 2 touchdown passes to former Pittsburgh WR and Super Bowl MVP, Santonio Holmes. Quinton Coples gives fits to the Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line, but Big Ben has a successful day of his own, passing for 3 touchdowns against a secondary devoid of Revis Island. And, for those keeping track at home - Timmy Tebow records his first rushing touchdown of the season. The Steelers 0-2 start will cause them to panic, while the Jets will head into Miami for a trap game against the Dolphins.