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Jets vs. Steelers: 3 things to watch

The Jets are badly in need of a win, but it will be tough to come by against the Steelers.
James Harrison

James Harrison has looked rejuvenated in his return to Pittsburgh.

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The streak has to end sometime for the Jets, it just may not be here.

It has been eight games since the Jets won, going back to Week 1 and a tighter-than-anticipated victory over the hapless Raiders. Since then, they have hung tough with a number of teams but have seen the wheels come off in recent weeks.

The Steelers come into MetLife Stadium with an offense that is clicking. Ben Roethlisberger has thrown an NFL-record 12 touchdowns in the last two games and is spreading the ball around in the process.

Metro takes a look at three storylines to watch as the Jets face the Steelers on Sunday (1 p.m., CBS).

1. Man of Steel

Linebacker James Harrison, back with the Steelers after a failed year with the Bengals, is the man who makes the defense tough. He had seven tackles and two sacks in last week’s 43-23 win over the Ravens. He had two sacks the week before as well. On the flip side, the Jets offensive line has been poor lately and will need to adjust to contain Harrison. “I’ll tell you what,” head coach Rex Ryan said, “that’s one tough dude.”

2. Distractions

An eight-game losing streak is bad enough, but distractions have surrounded the Jets this week. Fans raised money to fund a billboard near the stadium to push for general manager John Idzik to be fired and then a plane flew over the practice field on Wednesday with a banner that read, “Fire John Idzik.” “We are going to keep doing everything that we are supposed to do,” Michael Vick said. “Is it a distraction? Yeah, but we still have to maintain our professionalism.”

3. Heinz Field East

Amid all the fan issues and protests, Sunday could feel like a Steelers home game. Jets fans are unloading tickets because they don’t want to sit through a 1-8 team and watch what looks like another loss on paper. There will be a lot of Terrible Towels at MetLife Stadium, taking away any home-field advantage. The Steelers already travel well and have a national following. Factor in the apathy of Jets fans and the stadium could be decidedly black and yellow for this one.

Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.

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