Week 2: Jets-Steelers matchup

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

N.Y. Jets at Pittsburgh
Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET, at Heinz Field, Pittsburgh - TV: CBS; DirecTV: 715
*TV announcers: Jim Nantz, Phil Simms
*Keys to the game: How long Mark Sanchez put his critics to bed with an outstanding Week 1 performance depends on how he follows it up against a much more imposing Pittsburgh defense on the road. Among the encouraging signs was three combined touchdowns to young wide receivers Stephen Hill and Jeremy Kerley and no sacks allowed. Sanchez's time in the pocket and ability to find those receivers will be much more difficult against Pittsburgh if the ground game isn't able to manage more than the 3.3 yards per carry it did against Buffalo. Pittsburgh's offense under new coordinator Todd Haley asks Ben Roethlisberger to go through his progressions more, but he showed against Denver that one of his best attributes remains freelancing on the run. The Jets' run defense was gashed by the speedy C.J. Spiller last week, but Pittsburgh's ground game lacks much pop with Rashard Mendenhall (knee) still likely out for this week.
*Matchup to watch - Jets Ss LaRon Landry and Yeremiah Bell vs. Roethlisberger: The Jets revamped their secondary over the offseason and brought in a pair of very physical veterans to man the last line of defense. They will both certainly be forces against the run, and Landry tied for the team lead with seven tackles last week. Of just as much importance is the ability of Landry and Bell to maintain their responsibilities in deep coverage when Roethlisberger breaks out of the pocket and looks for speedsters Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown on busted plays.
*Player spotlight - Steelers RT Mike Adams: The rookie out of Ohio State struggled as could be expected after taking over for injured Marcus Gilbert (left knee) last week, and will have a bulls-eye if asked to start Sunday.
*Fast facts: Tim Tebow had five carries for 11 yards but did not attempt a pass in the Jets' season opener. ... The Steelers lead the all-time series 17-4, including playoffs.
Neither offense features a potent ground game, putting the pressure on the quarterbacks to recognize pressure packages, extend plays and make good decision downfield. The edge still heavily favors Ben Roethlisberger in that scenario.
*Our pick: Steelers 19-16

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