The Pittsburgh Steelers are going up against the New York Jets Sunday, October 2nd. Both teams are 1-2 going into the matchup. Let’s look at a few stats that will be key for Pittsburgh to hit to secure the victory.
Third Down Success – 40% (or higher)
The Steelers have struggled on third down so far this season. The team is 13/39 on third downs this season putting them at 25th in the league. 40% is not so impossible to conceive – even for this offense. So far this season a 40% conversion rate would be 13th in the league.
Last week against the Cleveland Browns the Steelers went just 1-9 on third down. This is just one of the many reason Cleveland had the ball for 13 more minutes than Pittsburgh in that matchup. In Pittsburgh’s Week 2 contest against the New England Patriots they went 8-15 on third down, and had the ball for just seven minutes less than the Patriots.
More conversions on third down means more opportunities to score, less time for the Jets to have the ball, and less time the defense has to be on the field.
Explosive Plays Allowed – <3
Neither of these offenses are strong when it comes to finishing drives with points. The Jets are just 21st in the league in points-per-game (17.3) despite being ninth in yards (370) and fourth in passing yards per game (286).
When playing against a struggling offense you can’t give up any big plays. Ripping off a long touchdown pass or run can skew the game heavily in that team’s favor, and is a big boost to a struggling offense. Especially if your own offense is struggling as well.
The good news is the Jets are just 27th in the league with six plays over 20 yards over their first three games. If Pittsburgh can just keep New York to its norm, they should be able to hold them to at maximum their average for explosive plays.
Forced Turnovers – >1
It has been quiet in the turnover department for Pittsburgh since Week 1. In the season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals the Steelers forced five turnovers. Since then – just one.
As mentioned above – this Steelers offense is struggling. One of the best ways to help a struggling offense is to get them more bites at the apple by creating turnovers and more possessions. It also helps the defense to end drives early, and get off the field.
Last season Pittsburgh was 4-1 in games where they forced multiple turnovers, and just 5-7 when forcing zero or one. The Jets’ only win this year came in their only single-turnover game. And in their two losses they had multiple turnovers in each game.
This is a must-win game for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Falling to 1-3 with the slate of games ahead of them would be a huge hole to climb out of. The Jets provide an excellent chance for a struggling team to find their footing. As long as Pittsburgh can avoid hurting themselves, force a couple turnovers (against a first-game-back Zach Wilson I’ll add) and clean up their third downs, they should be able to pull out a victory.
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