The complexion of games can change drastically between when the schedule is released and the midpoint of the season. In retrospect, contests on the road against the Jets, coming off a surprise playoff appearance, and at home with the Dolphins, bolstered by the signing of J Peezy and a then-sentient Trent Green, appeared to be among what looked to be a very difficult second half of the season. Now, not quite so much.
Clearly, playing teams with a combined 1-17 record should be considered opportunities to fine tune weaknesses while emphasizing what has been working. The most salient example will come this week with the kick coverage. The Jets' Leon Washington has proved one of the premier return threats in the league this year and it'll be incumbent on the Steelers to contain to, so as not to make it any easier on second-year QB Kellen Clemens.
I would think the Steelers would get after Clemens with the same ferocity that they went after Steve McNair last week, as opposed to the more Cover Two oriented schemes they've showed against Derek Anderson and Carson Palmer in recent weeks.
Though wresting the Jets' starting job away from noodle armed Chad Pennington, Clemens stats aren't spectacular, but he's played admirably, if not spectacularly against some of the league's better defenses in Baltimore and Washington.
Above all, it should be a standout game for Willie Parker, as the Jets allow an astounding 152 rushing yards a game, the worst in the NFL. Of course, the Steelers didn't fare so well earlier in the year when they faced a then-NFL worst Broncos run D, but with Ben's seven passing TDs the last two games, teams with be a lot more reluctant to stack the line against them.
The Steelers meanwhile, are pulling a defensive sweep, ranking first in the league in overall defense, both in terms of yardage and in points allowed, as well as first against both the run and the pass. In other words, they good.