It’s possible that the three best defensive players in the NFL will be watching from the sidelines when the Jets take on the Steelers in Pittsburgh (Steelers -5) this Sunday.
As of Friday New York’s Darrelle Revis reports that he is still “in a fog” after being kicked in the head in the opener against the Bills, and it looks like Steeler
All-Pros James Harrison and Troy Polamalu will both be spectators.
Does this open things up for an over play (the O/U opened at 41.5 and has remained there all week)? And with all that defensive firepower on the sidelines, which team has an advantage?
Two Covers Experts weighed in on the game and the total play.
“Naturally, Pittsburgh’s ‘D’ is better when 100 percent healthy, but beware of overreacting,” cautions Larry Ness. “Look what happened in Green Bay Thursday. The Packer defense was left for dead after Week 1 and a terrible 2011 season) but that unit destroyed [Bears quarterback Jay] Cutler. (Cutler was sacked seven times and Green Bay picked off three passes.)
“Let’s also not forget that when the season opened, the Jets’ offense was a national joke,” points out Ness. “Are all of that team’s ills now cured after a 48-point effort against a pathetic Buffalo team?”Marc Lawrence
cautions against pounding the Steelers.
“All of those injuries just make it difficult to support them,” says Lawrence, “[despite the fact that] the game sets up well for Pittsburgh, which is coming off a double-digit loss and the Jets are coming off a blowout win.”
Ness is a little more bullish on Pittsburgh, in part because the Steelers realize how difficult it is for even healthy teams to dig themselves out of 0-2 holes. “And Roethlisberger played well last week before that late interception.”
As for that O/U, here’s one stat to chew on: The under play cashed in six of Pittsburgh’s eight home games, and over the last two seasons the under is 11-5 at Heinz Field.