By Christina Rivers

After a successful three-game home stand that saw the Pittsburgh Steelers devour tough opponents in the Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts and Baltimore Ravens, the team will travel to Met Life Stadium to take on a Jets team that has lost eight straight games and is desperate for a spark. After Geno Smith was unsuccessful at quarterback, veteran Michael Vick entered the game in Kansas City only to watch his team once again have no answer.

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While Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is setting records, the Jets turned to Vick to turn things around with respect from his teammates and NFL experience. “Nothing’s going to hold me back from going out and trying to help this football team win a game,” Vick said. “It’s no fun being 1-8.”

For the first time since 1940 an NFL team has recorded only three takeaways in their first nine games per Pro-Football-Reference.com, and it just happens to be the New York Jets. The Jets defense has struggled the entire season to get into any form of rhythm, let alone stop a Kansas City Chiefs offense in week nine that only rushed for 78 yards and had 199 yards passing. The Chiefs never allowed the Jets to get ahead on the scoreboard, handing the Jets yet another loss.

Receiver Percy Harvin has fit in well with the Jets and is Vick’s top target on offense. “Right now I think the offense is moving the ball pretty well,” Harvin said after the game Sunday. “We’re just not making the big plays at the right time. That was Coach (Ryan’s) big message on offense, defense and special teams…when we need that clutch play we’re just missing it right now.” Sunday was Harvin’s second game with the Jets and he recorded 225 all-purpose yards, including 11 receptions for 129 yards. “I just think the overall execution of the offense was pretty good other than the fact that we couldn’t punch the ball in when we needed to,” said Harvin, who had his first 100-yard receiving game since 2012 as a Minnesota Viking. “That’s something we’re going to have to address. But I like the direction the offense is headed.”

Without Darrin Walls and Phillip Adams, rookie cornerback Marcus Williams struggled and Antonio Allen was benched to begin the second half and replaced by Josh Thomas. The secondary still could not keep Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith from completing 21-of-31 passes and two touchdowns.

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Chris Johnson handles most of the rushing responsibility in New York. Sunday was Johnson’s first game in 2014 with 100 yards from scrimmage. Johnson helped set up a 15-play touchdown drive against the Chiefs that set up wide receiver Eric Decker for the touchdown catch. Johnson hasn’t been hot, though. He’s the type of rusher that will keep battling, but in a Jets offense where every play is key, New York needs more big games from Johnson.

The Steelers are on a hot streak and it doesn’t appear that the Jets have any answers on offense or defense to really threaten Pittsburgh in a major way. That doesn’t mean the Steelers should play to the Jets’ current level, however. If the Steelers want a legitimate shot at the Cincinnati Bengals for the AFC North title, they’ll have to continue to play solid football offensively and defensively.

The Steelers technically have Monday’s off to watch film and take a break and after the bruising game on Sunday, you’d think hot tubs would be in order. Instead, many of the players, including James Harrison and Jason Worilds, were back training. “We celebrated our win from yesterday last night,” said Worilds. “It’s a new week and a new opponent.”

For more Steelers news and updates, visit Steelers Central.

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Christina Rivers has covered the Pittsburgh Steelers and National Football League professionally as a reporter and photographer for over a decade. Rivers studied exercise physiology and sports psychology at Brigham Young University as a student-athlete. Christina is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. Her work can be found on
Examiner.com.