“Darrelle (Revis) is ruled out of the game (versus Pittsburgh),” said head coach Rex Ryan at his Friday press conference.

Every Jets fans’ worst nightmare.

On the Friday following what was a virtually seamless performance by the much-maligned New York Jets, head coach Rex Ryan delivered what might be the worst piece of news the Jets will hear in a long time. He stated that after following NFL protocols for the entire week, that Darrelle Revis, who suffered a concussion in the team’s 48-28 victory over the Bills last Sunday,  will be sidelined for the team’s week two game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Concussions are a tricky injury that have triggered many headlines in recent seasons due to their degree of severity, and the way they have been poorly handled by the NFL. Many cases of former players having medical problems that can be dated back to suffering concussions during their playing days have been sprouting up recently, so as a precautionary measure, the league has made teams put players who have been concussed through many tests to assure that they can play. The Jets followed the league-mandated rules, and have come to the conclusion that Revis is at too much risk if he plays against the Steelers.

 

Not a pretty sight for the Jets or their fans.

Now, against certain teams, this injury would not mean as much to the Jets. But playing against Pittsburgh’s dynamic duo of  Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown without Revis can and will cause massive problems for Gang Green. Instead of letting arguably the best cornerback tandem in football handle them, the Jets will insert Kyle Wilson (their usual nickel corner) into Antonio Cromartie’s position and have Cromartie become the no. 1 corner. Needless to say, I don’t believe Kyle Wilson will be able to defend Antonio Brown very well.

So, in regard to Sunday’s game, it will be a hard-fought, well-played affair. Even though the Steelers were defeated by the Denver Broncos 31-19 on the opening Sunday night of the season and the Jets trounced the Buffalo Bills in their opener, I think Pittsburgh has the momentum going into this matchup. Not only because the Jets will be missing Revis, but because the Black and Gold could be getting their fearless pass-rusher, James Harrison, back in the lineup. Harrison being in the game is crucial not only from a leadership perspective, but from a mental perspective as well. When I say “mental perspective” I’m talking about Mark Sanchez and how he will react to facing Harrison. I believe that part of the reason why Sanchez was so effective against Buffalo was the fact that he had a clean pocket for the most of the game. James Harrison will force that pocket to collapse on more than one occasion if he gets the opportunity to play against the Jets.

James Harrison sacks the quarterback better than almost anyone in the league. If he’s healthy, Mark Sanchez will have to watch out.

My keys to the game for each team are as follows.

For the Jets, they need:

  • To run the ball effectively to neutralize the Steelers pass-rush.
  • To not allow Ben Roethlisberger to extend the play and make plays with his feet.
  • For Kyle Wilson to show why he was a first-round draft pick and contain Antonio Brown.

For the Steelers to win, they need:

  • To attack Kyle Wilson and Ellis Lankster (who fills Wilson’s role as the nickel corner).
  • To get pressure and force Mark Sanchez to make bad decisions, which he is fully capable of doing.
  • To keep James Harrison fresh and healthy so that he can wreak havoc on Mark Sanchez.

I will be giving the Steelers the nod in this game, but only by a slim margin. I will say this, however: Pittsburgh safety Troy Polamalu is questionable along with Harrison for the game, and if he doesn’t play, Pittsburgh could be in a little bit of trouble.

My Prediction:

Steelers- 21   Jets-17



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