Jets vow to avoid trap vs. Steelers

October, 9, 2013
10/09/13
6:50
PM ET
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The old saying goes: "You are what your record says you are."

But to the New York Jets, the winless Pittsburgh Steelers may as well be challenging the Broncos and Chiefs for AFC supremacy.

"We understand who we are playing. We are playing the Pittsburgh Steelers," Jets right tackle Austin Howard said of Sunday's opponent. "Very good team, whatever their record is. We know they can come out and beat any team at any given time, any given week."

Heading into Sunday's game against Pittsburgh, which has all the makings of a trap game, the Jets are vowing they will not overlook their 0-4 opponent. The Steelers have lost each game by at least seven points and a once-stout defense is yielding 27.5 points per game.

"There will be no letdown," Jets coach Rex Ryan said. "If the Pittsburgh Steelers beat us it's because they beat us. There's no other factor because our focus is strictly on them."

The Jets are riding high after their come-from-behind 30-28 win over Atlanta on Monday, while their opponent is one of four winless teams in the NFL. Add in a potential first-place showdown with New England in two weeks, and Sunday has all the makings of a letdown for the Jets.

The Jets insist this won't be the case, though. Ryan maintained that the Steelers are a proud organization, and with Mike Tomlin at the helm, he knows the Steelers are going to be well prepared. The Steelers do have the scheduling advantage for the game, coming off a bye while the Jets are on a short week after visiting Atlanta on Monday.

The Steelers also have some history on their side as they have historically dominated the Jets. They are 18-4 against them and have won the last two games, including last year's tilt, but this Steelers team hardly resembles those teams of the past.

"Pittsburgh is no joke," said Jets offensive guard Willie Colon, who was released by the Steelers during the offseason. "I tell you that from being an ex-Steeler, knowing how those guys think in the locker room. It's a lot of pride in that locker room, from that organization, from every man that wears that helmet. They are going to come in here and battle. We better be ready to go too."

If the Jets are able to beat Pittsburgh, it would mark back-to-back wins, a rarity for them over the past few years. Dating back to 2011, the Jets have won consecutive games just once in their past 24 games. Ryan joked Tuesday that the NFL sent him a memo saying teams are allowed to win two in a row.

The Jets will get their chance Sunday against an 0-4 team that they pledge not to take lightly.

"No one is saying we have to keep on going out there and losing one, winning one, and losing one and winning one," Howard said. "It doesn't have to be a roller coaster season."

Matt Ehalt

ESPN New York contributor

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