After a loss in Week 15, the Pittsburgh Steelers desperately need a win against the struggling New York Jets in Week 16 to stay in the playoff race.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are deserving of a playoff spot, but they aren’t guaranteed one. There are still several mind-numbing scenarios that could play out in the AFC, but none of that matters if the Steelers just win out.
Right now, Pittsburgh controls its destiny. If the teams win out, they’re guaranteed a playoff berth. Losing leaves things up to fate.
Last week, the Steelers lost to the Buffalo Bills, which further cemented Buffalo as the fifth seed. Pittsburgh clung to the sixth seed as the Tennessee Titans suffered a setback against Houston. However, both the Steelers and Titans are 8-6. Tennessee faces New Orleans next week and Houston again in Week 17.
Pittsburgh is walking a fine line between postseason contention and going home early. With the team slated to play in Baltimore in Week 17, Pittsburgh needs a bounce-back win against the New York Jets. And here are three bold predictions for that matchup.
3. Jets held below 170 passing yards
The Jets have suffered their fair share of offensive setbacks in 2019. Just like the Cleveland Browns and Baker Mayfield, New York’s offense and Sam Darnold have not delivered on expectations. As a second-year player, Darnold still has plenty of room to grow, but this is a lost season.
New York throws for 196.6 yards per game, the fourth-fewest in the NFL. Granted, Darnold hasn’t started the whole season in New York. The USC product is averaging 240.2 yards per game and has not been held below 200 yards since Week 1 against the Bills. However, even when taking Darnold’s personal stats, things look grim for New York in Week 16.
Darnold has thrown 17 touchdowns and 12 interceptions this season. Darnold also has a pedestrian 84.3 passer rating, reflecting on his uninspired play this year. Four of his interceptions came against the New England Patriots in Week 7. New England leads the NFL in interceptions. The Steelers are in second place.
Between New York’s struggles and Pittsburgh’s dominating defense, it’s hard to see Darnold having a positive outing. The Steelers are tied for the league lead in sacks with 49 and allow the third-lowest passer rating to quarterbacks. It seems like Darnold’s tough season will only get worse in Week 16.