The Steelers and Jets have kept the trash-talking at a minimum. Now, it’s time to settle it on the field.
Here’s the top three things we’ll be keeping an eye on this weekend:
1. Safety concern
Troy Polamalu is the straw that stirs the Steelers’ drink. Or, more aptly, the conditioner in defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau’s aggressive 3-4 scheme.
The safety plays all over the field, blitzes at will (sometimes hurdling opposing centers) and baits quarterbacks into bad throws. When these two met in Week 15, Polamalu didn’t play and the Jets won 22-17.
But Polamalu will be on the field Sunday, which is bad news for the Jets, since Pittsburgh is 16-4 with No. 43 in the lineup.
2. The other guys
Santonio Holmes, two years after winning a Super Bowl MVP award with the Steelers, returns to Pittsburgh to play the team that traded him for a fifth-round draft pick.
There’s also Jason Taylor, LaDainian Tomlinson and Tony Richardson — three veteran Jets, who have combined for 40 years of NFL experience and 15 Pro Bowl selections. They are all just one win away from their first career Super Bowl appearances.
3. Island vacation?
The most anticipated matchup should be between Jets stud corner Darrelle Revis and Steelers receiver Mike Wallace.
But, will it happen?
In Rex Ryan’s attack, the Jets blitz at all angles and leave corners in one-on-one coverage. That means it’s up to either Revis or Antonio Cromartie to shut down the speedy Wallace.
In Week 15, Wallace went for 110 yards vs. Cromartie, while Revis held Hines Ward to 34 yards on two catches.