NFL Football
Scoreboard|Stats|Standings|Teams|Players|Player News|Injuries|Transactions
10
Final 1 2 3 4 Tot
Pittsburgh 0 10 0 0 10
NY Jets 7 3 3 3 16
16
10:00 AM PT11:00 AM MT12:00 PM CT1:00 PM ET18:00 GMT2:00 11:00 AM MST1:00 PM EST12:00 PM CT22:00 UAE13:00 ET16:00 , December 22, 2019
MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey  Weather: 45°, Clear  Attendance: 78,523

Steelers-Jets Preview

According to STATS
According to STATS

Pittsburgh Steelers at New York Jets

  1. Including wins in the 2004 and 2010 postseasons, the Steelers are 20-5 (.800) against the Jets all-time, tied for the best winning percentage between any current franchises that have played at least 20 times (Broncos 24-6 vs. Browns and Steelers 24-6 vs. Colts).
  2. The Steelers are the only team in the NFL that has yet to score 28+ points or tally 400+ total yards in a game this season. Pittsburgh's 15 straight games with fewer than 28 points and fewer than 400 total yards is the team's longest streak since 1969-70 (17 straight).
  3. The Jets allowed a season-high 42 points in last week's loss at Baltimore, and they allowed five touchdown passes for only the second time in the last 30 years (October 27, 2013 at Cincinnati). The 42-21 loss was their seventh by 14+ points -- the only season in which the Jets had more losses by 14+ points was 1976 (10).
  4. Devlin Hodges is on pace to have the highest completion percentage by a rookie all-time at 67.8 percent (minimum 100 attempts), but 28.8 percent of his completions have been behind the line of scrimmage. The only player with as many completions as Hodges (80) and a higher percentage behind the line this season is his teammate Mason Rudolph (29.0 percent).
  5. Sam Darnold has had at least 200 passing yards in eight straight games, one shy of the longest streak in Jets history (Vinny Testaverde, 9 straight in 1998). After totaling four passes of 25+ yards in his first five games of the season, Darnold has 14 such passes over his last six, tied for third most since Week 10.
  6. Le'Veon Bell had the three best seasons in Steelers history in scrimmage yards per game, and this will be his first career game against Pittsburgh. Bell's 3.31 yards per carry would be third lowest in Jets history (minimum 150 carries), ahead of only Brad Baxter (3.21 in 1993) and Emerson Boozer (3.29 in 1971).
Team Comparison

Pittsburgh
 
New York
19.2 Points 17.6
207.6 Pass Yds 218.6
91.5 Rush Yds 77.6
35 Takeaways 16
(AP Photo/Don Wright)

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) The Pittsburgh Steelers hold their playoff destiny in their own hands.

Win the last two games of the season, and they're in. No sweating, no scoreboard watching.

That's why the Steelers' game Sunday against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium has taken on an almost playoff-like feel. Lose this one, and the path to the postseason gets a whole lot tougher.

"That is what you work all year for, that clarity, that ticket to the tournament, the finality of it all," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. "The scarcity that is in our game, I just appreciate that. You don't get 80-plus opportunities to state your case. You don't get 160. You get 16 opportunities, one a week, over the second half of a calendar year to state your case and we are in December, so that says it all."

The Steelers (8-6) certainly didn't help themselves in a 17-10 home loss to Buffalo last week that has them in this delicate position. Devlin "Duck"Hodges threw four interceptions in that one, but Tomlin is sticking with the rookie quarterback to face the Jets (5-9).

"Coach Tomlin told us we're not going to blink, we're going to keep going - just play your game," Hodges said. "I'm not going to change who I am. I had a bad game. I know I had a bad game, but, hey, I can get better from it. Bad games do happen and I'm looking forward to showing that we have gotten better and that we're going to have more fun and play football and get a win."

A loss would not eliminate Pittsburgh, but it would then need some major help - especially with a regular-season finale at Baltimore up next.

Meanwhile, the Jets can play the spoiler role this week, and then finish the season at Buffalo against their AFC East rivals. So, New York isn't content with simply playing out the string.

"Everybody in here is treating these last two games like playoff games," safety Jamal Adams said. "We're out for war. The atmosphere is going to be fun. I know they're going to bring a lot of fans, so I'm looking forward to it."

FAMILIAR FOES

The obvious storyline in this one is Jets running back Le'Veon Bell facing his former team for the first time since signing a four-year, $52.5 million deal with New York in the offseason.

Bell made the Pro Bowl three times with the Steelers and established himself as the game's most versatile running back, but sat out all last season in a contract dispute with Pittsburgh.

While many of Bell's Steelers teammates understood the business side of things, there were some who grew frustrated with the situation. A year later, Pittsburgh players insist they harbor no ill will toward Bell.

"I'm telling you, man, we love Le'Veon, at the end of the day," Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey said. "So that outside world can think whatever they want, but everyone in this locker room loves and respect him. And if he was still here, we would be riding with him."

ADAMS' RETURN

After sitting out the first two games of his NFL career with a sprained ankle, Adams appears set to play against the Steelers.

The Jets' defensive leader was selected for his second straight Pro Bowl after promising after his rookie season that he'd never miss another. He has been right on with that prediction, and he has another goal in his sights.

Adams has 6 1/2 sacks this season, just two away from breaking the NFL mark for a defensive back set by Arizona's Adrian Wilson in 2005.

"I'm not going to tie," Adams said. "I'm going to break it. No doubt."

READY TO RUN?

A big part of Pittsburgh's issues against the Bills stemmed from the decision to abandon the run despite the return of starting running back James Conner from a shoulder injury.

The Steelers ran just 15 times for 51 yards, dropping them to 3-6 when they finish with under 100 yards on the ground. The sledding figures to be tough again against the Jets, who are allowing just 88 yards rushing per game.

Pittsburgh relied heavily on a "committee" approach during Conner's absence and it stayed that way against the Bills, with four backs getting at least one carry. Conner isn't campaigning for an expanded role.

"If that's how the game goes, I'll be ready for whatever," Conner said. "Just got to execute."

UNDER PRESSURE

The Jets have struggled protecting the quarterback no matter who is under center. Now they face a defense that's tied for the NFL lead in sacks (49) and ranks second in takeaways (35).

Pittsburgh outside linebackers T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree are one of only two linebacker duos in the NFL to get at least 9 1/2 sacks, with the other being Green Bay's Preston Smith and Za'Darius Smith. After rotating at the position frequently earlier in the season, Watt and Dupree's workload has increased in recent weeks, and that's by design.

"When I played in the NFL, no one substituted," Steelers defensive coordinator Keith Butler said. "I know there are guys that rushed the quarterback and stuff like that. Maybe the first part of the season you rotated and stuff like that, but at the end of the season, you want your best people in there playing ball for us."

TOUGH TIMES

The Jets are struggling through their fourth straight losing season, something the franchise hasn't experienced in the Super Bowl era.

They're looking to avoid having double-digit losses in four consecutive years for the first time in team history. New York also won't make the playoffs for the ninth straight season, the franchise's second-longest drought. Only the 1970-80 Jets went longer without reaching the postseason.

--

AP Sports Writer Will Graves in Pittsburgh contributed.

---

More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Updated December 19, 2019

Sports Data API Powered by STATS © 2020 by STATS PERFORM.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS PERFROM is strictly prohibited.