Keys to victory for the Steelers over the Jaguars in Week 11

Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

Hey! The Pittsburgh Steelers have a game coming up this week! It's against Jacksonville, and this is ultimately the most important thing going on with the Steelers right now, so let's discuss. The Jags season has basically gone down the tubes after following up last year's AFC Championship Game appearance with a 3-1 beginning to this season (including a victory over the Patriots without Julien Edelman and Josh Gordon). They've now lost 5 straight, but with Leonard Fournette back healthy, and their defense still healthy and strong, they're still a tough matchup for the Steelers. Nevertheless, the Steelers should still win.

Let's break it down.

+3 The Jags own a 3 game advantage on the Steelers in the history of the series, leading 14-11. That should tell you something. Jacksonville doesn't have to be peaking to beat the Steelers, they're one of those teams that just matches up bad for us.

75 That's the number of points the Jags scored on us last year in two games. It's worth noting though that the number isn't all on our defense. It includes a 50 yard fumble return and interception returns of 51 yards and 28 yards. Defensive TD's are pretty fluky, but the Jags have guys like Telvin Smith (author of two of those TD's) whose athleticism always gives them the chance to turn big plays into bigger plays, and avoiding turnovers is a good idea anyway. Our defense certainly has to step up, but it's also on the offense not to do double dirt by generating points for the wrong team.

289/5 Yards and TD's by Fournette against the Steelers last year. If the defense is going to step up, a good place to start would maybe be against the run? You can't completely overlook Bortles, as bad as he can be, he's coming off a game against Indy where he threw the ball 38 times and completed 68% for 320 and 2 TD's, and he actually hasn't thrown an INT in his past 3 games. It's no accident, though, this explosion came in Fournette's first game back from injury, though. Bortles' best game before that was in week 4, the last time Fournette played before getting injured. Fournette's presence softens things up for Bortles, and the Steelers need to be able to contain him without making it too easy for Bortles to find open receivers. In their last game, they did neither and both Fournette and Bortles had strong games.

17/289/2 Catches, yards, and TD's by Brown last year. Maybe that's why Jalen Ramsey considers him easily the best WR in the league. Aside from the fact that the Jags coaches will obviously spending a great deal of preparation this week on trying to come up with a way to contain Brown, Ramsey and Bouye are the caliber of CB's for whom a matchup with Brown is a matter of professional pride, a worthy opponent, the guy against whom they measure themselves, and they have ugly outings to erase. They're bringing their "A" game, and a lot of intensity to this matchup. Put it this way, if they feel Brown gets away with an OPI for a big gain, someone is going to blow their stack.

89 Vance McDonald. Ten catches for 112 yards in the playoff loss as the Jags struggled to contain him just like they did the 49'ers George Kittle. This year again, the Jags are struggling against TE's, giving up the 6th most fantasy points in the league to TE's. Last week, Indy's TE's racked up a combined 133 yards and 3 TD's on 10 targets. On the other hand, Ol' Greasy Gloves McDonald is also responsible for a key turnover in each of the Jags games last year. He can't get so excited about YAC that he lets speedy LB's like Smith undercut his route for the INT or fail to secure the ball properly resulting in a fumble. Keep your eye on the Outlaw Jesse James as well, who has produced a surprising number of big plays this year and very well might "come from nowhere" to end up being the TE to scorch the Jags this time around.

10 That's how many days Conner has to recover from the concussion suffered against Carolina. Otherwise, we're starting Samuels or Ridley who bring negligible threat to the running game and are stuck trying to pass the ball against the top ranked passing defense with them knowing what's coming. You can't discount the ability of our OL to open lanes and potentially still allow a good ground game, but Conner and the threat of a real run game will be a huge key to this game.

0-2 The Steelers are talking about this just being another week and just another opponent, but it's not. This was a game that's been circled on a lot of calendars since the schedule came out. Last year they got blown out and eked out, and it's hard to say which hurt worse, but they both hurt bad. Both those games also turned out the way they did because of slow starts by the Steelers that created a game script very favorable to Jacksonville, allowing them to play with a lead. The Steelers need to bring the intensity this time around, and make the Jaguars play from behind where they are much less comfortable.

The opinions shared here are not those of the editorial staff of Behind the Steel Curtain or SB Nation. These posts are not approved in any way by the editorial staff of this web site.