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Steelers hold slight edge over Jets as league's best team


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Steelers hold slight edge over Jets as league's best team »

By Manish Mehta

The glass-half-empty folks can’t even deny that their seemingly cursed franchise is among the league’s elite through seven weeks of the season. Barring an unforeseen implosion or serious injury to its franchise quarterback, the Jets will be in the Super Bowl conversation for the next two months.

Nobody has more wins. Nobody has fewer losses.

Nobody’s better, right?

Well, not exactly.

Although there’s no mathematical formula to compute NFL power rankings, the Steelers - not the Jets - should be considered the league’s best team right now.

The Jets and Steelers are among seven teams with five wins. Rex Ryan’s team currently owns the league’s longest winning streak at five.

But…

“We have a long way to go,” linebacker Bart Scott said. “You don‘t want to be one of those teams that’s playing well now and not playing well when it counts the most. You don’t want to peak early and then be one of those teams that’s fighting to hold on.”

Seven weeks into the season, five teams can make legitimate claims to be the league’s best: Jets, Steelers, Ravens, Patriots and Giants (with honorable mentions to the Titans and Colts).

The Giants (5-2), whose wins have come against teams that are a combined 11-20, have the benefit of playing in the inferior NFC. The Patriots certainly have the best head coach-quarterback combination of the elite teams, but they only have one victory against a team with a winning record. New England’s defense isn’t exactly striking fear into opponents, either.

The Ravens can make a legitimate claim to be the best since they beat the Jets and Steelers on the road. It’s a compelling case, but John Harbaugh’s club has a minus-2 takeaway-giveaway ratio. So, they’re eliminated for now.

So, why the Steelers over the Jets?

Let’s examine the statistics that actually matter.

The Jets lead the league in turnover ratio (+10), just ahead of the second-ranked Steelers (+8). Advantage: Jets.

Forget about total offense and total defense, purely yardage driven categories that are virtually meaningless. Pittsburgh’s dominating defense that has allowed a league-low 13.7 points per game. The Jets rank eighth (16.8 ppg). Advantage: Steelers.

The Steelers’ top-ranked rush defense that has allowed just 63.7 yards per game and 2.8 yards per carry suffered a blow last week by likely losing defensive end Aaron Smith for the season with a torn triceps tendon.

Both teams have looked vulnerable against the pass. Of course, a healthy Darrelle Revis should bolster the Jets 22nd-ranked pass defense moving forward. Advantage: Jets.

The Steelers’ five victories have come against teams with a combined .576 winning percentage (19-14). The Jets have won their games against teams with a combined .387 winning percentage (12-19). Advantage: Steelers.

Perhaps the No. 1 reason to rank the Steelers slightly ahead of the Jets is their edge at quarterback. Ben Roethlisberger has only played the last two weeks after serving his league-mandated four-game suspension. He has five touchdowns and one interception with a 122.4 passer rating in leading Pittsburgh to two wins.

The Jets, who have just one win against a team with a better than .500 record, rank fourth in scoring offense (26.5 ppg) thanks to a menacing rushing attack (159.2 ypg). Although Mark Sanchez has reversed his turnover-prone ways from a year ago, only four quarterbacks have a lower completion percentage.

In other words, the Steelers have the advantage at the position that matters the most.

Of course, all of that could change over the next two months.

“You don’t get anything for being 5-1,” right guard Brandon Moore said. “The best team is the team that wins the Super Bowl.”

NOTE:

Right tackle Damien Woody will have his hands full Sunday with Clay Matthews, who will predominantly line up on the defensive left side over Woody. The Packers’ second-year linebacker - and Mark Sanchez’s former college teammate - leads the league with 8 ½ sacks despite missing one game due to a hamstring injury.

“He’s definitely a pain,” Woody said. “This guy never stops. He hustles every play.”

If the ever active Matthews gets a step on Woody, would the veteran offensive lineman consider grabbing the linebacker’s signature long locks?

“If I’m not mistaken, I think that’s part of the uniform,” Woody said. “So I guess all that’s fair game. Hopefully, I won’t get in that type of situation where I need to yank a guy’s hair. I’m just going to use my sound technique and get ready for a heck of a matchup

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If that's to be the litmus test this is gonna get messy.

The Patriots certainly have the best head coach-quarterback combination of the elite teams, but they only have one victory against a team with a winning record. New England’s defense isn’t exactly striking fear into opponents, either.

I'm sorry but this defies logic. There isn't a team that the Jets want to see less than the Pats on Dec 6, do you hear me Mehta? Do you HEAR ME??

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I have no problem saying the Steelers are ranked higher than the Jets.

The beauty of it is that they play each other.

We can only hope that that game has No. 1 seed implication when it happens.

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Good article. I kinda think the Steelers would beat us.. especially if they shut down our run game.

Ranking a team higher doesn't necessarily mean they will beat you. The Jets can beat the Steelers without question and vice versa. That doesn't mean that they "would" or "should."

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I have no problem saying the Steelers are ranked higher than the Jets.

The beauty of it is that they play each other.

We can only hope that that game has No. 1 seed implication when it happens.

When was the last time the Jets won in Pittsburgh?

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When was the last time the Jets won in Pittsburgh?

what does that have to do with anything?

the last time the jets even playe din pittsburgh was 2004. this is a completely different team. what happened 6 years ago doesn't quite matter much a sfar as the outcome of this years game goes. the last time the jets even played pitt was in 2007 and kellen clemens was the qb and the jets won. but again it means nothing.

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The Jets have won their games against teams with a combined .387 winning percentage (12-19).

Wow, no wonder the Jets are so overrated.

Pats have won their games against teams with a combined .375 winning percentage.

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Honestly, the only thing IMO that is the difference is Big Ben.

The Steelers have a great D but they've played Cleveland an Tampa Bay who dont exactly have super offensive units. So it makes sense why they are statically ranked better than us in the points against category. However, they had really good games against Tenn and Atl but those were early in the season and both teams about playing much better since.

Either way, you have to give credit where credit is due and I'd say they are best the team in the league because their D is great but mostly because now Big Ben is back.

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Honestly, the only thing IMO that is the difference is Big Ben.

Big Ben is the "biggest play" QB in the NFL.

How many times do you see other teams have him wrapped up for a loss and somehow he gets out, and then tosses a pefect strike for a 45-yard TD.

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Big Ben is the "biggest play" QB in the NFL.

How many times do you see other teams have him wrapped up for a loss and somehow he gets out, and then tosses a pefect strike for a 45-yard TD.

For sure. His ability to scramble and throw on the run, coupled with his size, is astonishing. He gets a lot of those big plays because you think he's wrapped up, the play breaks down field, and the next thing you know he breaks free and somebody breaks loose down field and Big Ben has the arm to deliver.

The Steelers needed the refs to win over the Dolphins. I fully think we can beat them.

Sure we can beat them. The Jets also needed the refs to beat Denver. Its all relative. The Jets can beat any team in the league, doesnt mean they will.

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And exactly how did the Jets beat the Broncos?

did the refs force the db to commit a pass interference? besides if you had watched the game you would have seen the refs make a slew of very iffy calls that went against the jets.

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Sure we can beat them. The Jets also needed the refs to beat Denver. Its all relative. The Jets can beat any team in the league, doesnt mean they will.

Huh?

The Refs in Miami totally blew the call on the field and were hamstrung in the review process because of it. How does that any way equate with the Refs in Denver a$$ raping the Jets throughout the game with blown TD calls, non-personal foul personal foul penalty, and then making an obvious call on a blatant pass interference?

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For sure. His ability to scramble and throw on the run, coupled with his size, is astonishing. He gets a lot of those big plays because you think he's wrapped up, the play breaks down field, and the next thing you know he breaks free and somebody breaks loose down field and Big Ben has the arm to deliver.

Sure we can beat them. The Jets also needed the refs to beat Denver. Its all relative. The Jets can beat any team in the league, doesnt mean they will.

Where did you pull that one out of ?

The facts are the JETS were getting short end of the calls throughout the game. One of the Broncos TD was not a TD b/c the receiver was clearly out of bounds. If the refs had got this call right the game would have been over long before that.

And finally the refs get a PI call right and suddenly it becomes the JETS needed the refs ?

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