If you’ve kept your ears open and listened to what fans of both the Pittsburgh Steelers and Jacksonville Jaguars are saying heading into the playoff game at Heinz Field Sunday, it’s rather predictable.
Jaguars fans are bringing up 2007, Mike Tomlin’s first season at the helm, when Jacksonville came into Heinz Field and beat the Steelers twice—the second time being in the Wild Card Round of the playoffs.
They’re also bringing up the Week-5 shellacking the Jaguars delivered to the home team this season, by the score of 30-9.
Steelers fans, an ever-confident bunch, range from “Jacksonville might not even want to show up” to “This is going to be a blood bath, and a toss-up game”.
Regardless of how fans feel about the upcoming game, there’s one thing for certain — Sunday at 1 p.m. ET will be strength vs. strength in the divisional round of the AFC Playoffs.
Pittsburgh’s high-powered passing attack vs. the Jaguars’ highly-ranked pass defense.
Jacksonville’s rushing attack vs. the Steelers’ run-stoppers.
Both teams not surrendering sacks easily, as both defenses ranked in the Top-2 for sacks throughout the season.
Something has to give, and it might just be in between the strengths where you find the keys to victory. For instance, the Steelers can throw the ball with the best of them, but they can also pound the rock. The Jaguars don’t necessarily have this capability with Blake Bortles at the helm. Asking Bortles to win the game isn’t impossible, but highly unlikely.
Nonetheless, the team able to execute its strengths better than the other on Sunday very well could punch its ticket to the AFC Championship game.
Time to check in on the news surrounding the Steelers outside the walls of BTSC:
“C’mon! Big Ben isn’t going to throw five picks again versus Jacksonville!”
Um, no. But against that top-rated pass defense, he might throw one or two.
“Pfft! Leonard Fournette isn’t going to go off for 180 yards again.”
Again, no. But could you see him getting 110-120?
“Are you serious!? There’s no way Blake Bortles throws for only 95 yards and wins again.”
Yeah, well, he just threw for 87 and won last week.
“Please! There’s no way Le’Veon Bell is held to under 50 yards on the ground again.”
I doubt it, too. But are you sure he’s going to get 100?
Don’t get me wrong. I’m with the masses in Pittsburgh.
I’m picking the Steelers to beat the Jaguars in Sunday’s divisional round game at 1 p.m.
Leonard Fournette punctuated the Jacksonville Jaguars’ 30-9 upset of the Steelers in October with a 90-yard run inside the final two minutes.
However, it was a seemingly innocent 9-yard run earlier in the game -– and not by Fournette -– that Steelers coach Mike Tomlin’s highlighted Tuesday when discussing Sunday’s rematch at Heinz Field in an AFC divisional playoff game.
The Jaguars, leading 7-3 midway through the second quarter, faced a third-and-9 from their own 9. With the Steelers pressuring from the edges, quarterback Blake Bortles stepped up in the pocket, ran 9 yards and dived for the first down.
Instead of forcing a change of possession and getting good field position, the Steelers watched the Jaguars run 11 more plays and consume 6 minutes, 30 second of the clock before punting.
Stephon Tuitt has something for Leonard Fournette, a warning that will have you howling.
The Steelers put a target on the Jacksonville Jaguars rookie running back, who might as well be wearing a bull’s-eye instead of No. 27.
“We’re hunting him. That’s something he’s just got to know. He should already know that,” Tuitt said.
“You come here and run for (181) yards on us, and you already know that your face is on everybody’s wall when they wake up in the morning. I’m eating breakfast with you at the table right now because I’m looking at you every day.”
Fournette ate the Steelers for breakfast, lunch and dinner in the Jaguars’ 30-9 victory over the Steelers on Oct. 8 at Heinz Field, their most lopsided loss of the season.