The Jacksonville Jaguars and Pittsburgh Steelers square off in a rematch from back on October 8th. The Jaguars pummeled the Steelers at Heinz Field, resulting in a 30-9 final. It was a surprising outcome, and the worst performance of Ben Roethlisberger’s career. His head was never in it. Big Ben threw 5 interceptions, the most in a single game in his career. He also didn’t put up 1 touchdown on the board.
Roethlisberger threw for 312 yards but it was a moot point when there is 5 interceptions tossed. This game came after a win over their rivals, the Baltimore Ravens, and there was a major letdown for them the next week. The Steelers lost just one game the rest of the schedule, with the lone defeat coming against the New England Patriots in that game with the controversial incomplete pass at the end of regulation.
The Patriots already won yesterday, and a Steelers win this afternoon would set-up a rematch. Pittsburgh is chomping at the bit to get another opportunity against the Pats, but it’s been a lopsided series between the two. Another interesting storyline is the fact that James Harrison may play the Steelers in the postseason. It was a pretty nasty divorce between Harrison and the Steelers, and they could very well see each other next week in the AFC Championship. His former teammates did not have many pleasant things to say about him.
Standing in the Steelers way is the darlings of the 2017 season. The Jaguars rose up from the grave and have put on a display this year. The highlight of their year was the win over the Steelers, as they ultimately finished with a record of 11-6. For at least one season, the talk of Blake Bortles getting the ax in Jacksonville was put to rest. Bortles was decent, but the real stars of the Jaguars was on the defensive side of the ball. Likewise, Pittsburgh had considerable success with their defense as well. Head below for our free Jaguars vs. Steelers pick on the second day of the NFL Divisional Round.
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Pittsburgh Steelers Betting Odds:
vs. Steelers -7(-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Jaguars vs. Steelers Pick:
The Jaguars finished up the season a little topsy-turvy, with losses to the 49ers and Titans, and then concluded the year with a 10-3 win over the Bills. They did what they had to do to reach the postseason. This is the first postseason appearance for the Jags since 2007. They were led by David Garrard, and a similar defense that was the catalyst for them.
Maurice Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor were a load to handle as well. The Jaguars have an okay quarterback now, a talented defense, and a running back that can run through walls. It sounds fairly familiar to the same Jaguars team from back in 2005-2007. They never did do too much damage in the postseason, though.
Jacksonville finished 2nd in the NFL with 286.1 yards allowed per game. The 49ers mangled them for 44 points in a 44-33 game, but other than that, it’s been an impressive run for the Jaguars. They’ve been particularly strong against the pass, allowing only 169.9 yards per game, 1st in the NFL. Bortles was fine with 21 touchdowns and 13 interceptions this season, but the star of the offense was Leonard Fournette. Bortles got lucky with this defense and a good running back in 2017. Fournette ran for 1,040 yards and about 4 yards per carry. He also added 9 touchdowns on the ground.
Despite the big win for the Jags in their meeting in the regular season, Bortles was awful against the Pittsburgh defense. He threw for 95 yards and an interception. If you were to look at just that alone, one would assume that the Jaguars were blown out. Except the fact that Fournette ran for 181 yards and 2 touchdowns, while the defense forced Ben into 5 picks.
The Steelers were great against the pass this season as well, as they allowed 201.1 yards per game for 5th in the league. They gave up only 19.2 points per game, 7th, while the Jaguars were 2nd in the NFL, allowing 16.8 per game. I can see a defensive battle unfolding between the Jaguars and Steelers here. Other than Fournette running wild in their last meeting, both offenses were non-existent, especially the quarterbacks. Three Jacksonville touchdowns were a 90-yard run by Fournette and two pick-6’s. I don’t see that happening again on Sunday. I’d take a look at the UNDER.
PICK: UNDER 41 (-110)