Updated, 1:04 p.m.
The Jets get some injured players back onto their active roster, get some juice from a couple of ex-Pittsburgh players wearing Jets green and white, and get a lift from treating today's final home game of the season as what Pro Bowl S Jamal Adams "a playoff game" when they take on the Steelers at MetLife Stadium this afternoon (1:02 p.m. ET kickoff).
Adams is one of those injured players back in uniform for the 5-9 Jets' interdivisional clash with the vaunted Steelers, fighting for an AFC playoff berth at 8-6. Adams suffered an ankle sprain early in the Cincinnati game and missed the Jets' two most recent games, but he's ready to resume his third pro season and his second as an AFC Pro Bowler.
"The past two weeks, I'm not going to lie to you, man, I was in a real low place," Adams said in the past few days. "I've never had this game taken away from me, so it was tough just sitting on the sideline, not being out there, not practicing with my brothers. Just practicing today, man, I was like a little kid. You never take things for granted that you love, and when you do get those things taken away, it makes you look at it a little bit different."
Adams is expected to be joined back in action by several more injured Jets. First-round rookie DL Quinnen Williams (neck) missed the Thursday night game at Baltimore, CBs Brian Poole (concussion) and Arthur Maulet (calf) return after each missed the past two games, and RB Bilal Powell (ankle) returns for duty after missing the Ravens.
See Top Photos from Pregame at MetLife Stadium
However, WR Demaryius Thomas (hamstring/knee) will sit out his second game and RG Tom Compton (calf) will also miss today's action.
The returning Jets will be joined by two former Steelers who hold no animosity toward their old team but still would like to supply them with a loss at MetLife in front of their usual strong contingent of traveling black-and-gold-clad fans.
RB Le'Veon Bell, who has remained tremendously upbeat despite still searching for his first monster game as a Jet, played his first five seasons for Pittsburgh. And DL Steve McLendon, one of the venerable leaders of the Jets defense, spent his first six seasons with the Steelers, then his last four with the Jets. Additionally, former Steelers Pro Bowl WR Hines Ward is now on coach Adam Gase's coaching staff as an offensive assistant.
The rewards in this game for the Jets, while not at the postseason level, are still worth securing. It's the final home game for QB Sam Darnold to show his continuing growth curve running the Jets offense. It will be the Green & White's final opportunity to clinch a winning home record at 5-3 for the first time since the 2015 team went 6-2. And a win would lift the Jets' home record over the Steelers to four wins in the teams' last five meetings since 2003.
The Jets' seven-man inactive list today is:
- WR Demaryius Thomas
- CB Nate Hairston
- S Blake Countess
- RB Josh Adams
- S Bennett Jackson
- RB Kenneth Dixon
- G Tom Compton
And the Steelers' inactives:
- QB Paxton Lynch
- CB Artie Burns
- S Marcus Allen
- LB Tuzar Skipper
- OL Chukwuma Okorafor
- TE Zach Gentry
- WR Amara Darboh
The Jets will be wearing their new green jerseys and green pants.
Shawn Hochuli is working his third Jets game as referee since becoming an NFL ref last season. The first two were MetLife games against New England in '18 and this year.
The CBS team of Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts are calling their first Jets game of the season today. For the multitalented and peripatetic Eagle, this will be the 49th Jets game he's called since 1998, it will be Pro Football Hall of Famer Fouts' 32nd Jets game as analyst since 1989, and it will be the Eagle/Fouts team's 23rd Jets game together in the CBS booth since 2010.