FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Each week we will select two players on the New York Jets -- one on offense, one on defense -- who figure to play a key role in the upcoming game. The Jets face the Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3) on Sunday at MetLife Stadium:
Eric Decker, wide receiver: The game could swing on how well the Jets fare on third down. The Steelers are ranked No. 4 in third-down efficiency, due, in large part, to defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau's creative pressure packages. Decker is the Jets' go-to receiver on third down, with 17 catches for 174 yards and four touchdowns. The Steelers are vulnerable at cornerback, with William Gay and Brice McCain, only 5-foot-9. To pull the upset, the Jets must maintain the Michael Vick-to-Decker connection throughout the game, but especially on the money down.
Calvin Pryor, safety: Because of the issues at cornerback, Pryor's underwhelming rookie season has flown under the radar. The first-round pick has no interceptions, no forced fumbles, only two pass break-ups and a half-sack. Last week, he played only 33 percent of the snaps, a season low, losing time to Jaiquawn Jarrett. Pryor will be back in his usual role, according to Rex Ryan. The safeties will be challenged by the Steelers because they pose so many threats. Antonio Brown is the hottest wide receiver in the league, Le’Veon Bell is a prolific receiver out of the backfield and tight end Heath Miller is old reliable. The Jets could use a breakout game from Pryor.