DE Cameron Heyward vs. DL Muhammad Wilkerson
Heyward has provided consistency for the Steelers and is the only defensive lineman to start all nine games. He leads his position group in tackles (26) and sacks (3.0) and is tied for the team high with 11 quarterback pressures. Wilkerson leads the Jets with 4.5 sacks, ranks fourth on the team with 52 tackles and is second with 24 quarterback hurries. Each team possesses a solid running game so the battle at the line of scrimmage will be important for both defenses.
RB Le'Veon Bell vs. RBs Chris Ivory/Chris Johnson
Each week Bell continues to prove that he is one of the most versatile offensive players in the league. He ranks second in the NFL with 1,144 yards from scrimmage and his 711 rushing yards rank third. The Jets split carries among Ivory (109 carries for 497 yards and five touchdowns) and Johnson (78 carries for 337 yards and one touchdown) and boast the league's No. 3 rushing attack. Ben Roethlisberger spoke highly of Bell this week and said that the second-year running back always finds a way to contribute to the offense. The Steelers will need Bell to do that and more today against the Jets' No. 6 ranked defense.
LB James Harrison vs. LB Calvin PaceHarrison has worked back into his old form as the 12th year linebacker has recorded two sacks in each of the last two games and his four sacks lead the team. Harrison consistently wreaked havoc last week against the Ravens with his strength and speed off the edge. Pace has done the same for the Jets and ranks second on the team with four sacks. After throwing for an NFL-record 12 touchdowns over the last two games, the Jets will need Pace to provide pressure on Roethlisberger in order to stop the Steelers' No. 3 ranked offense.