Jaguars at Steelers Prediction
Jacksonville Jaguars at Pittsburgh Steelers (Pitt -7.5)
The Jaguars are by far the best defense in the NFL in my opinion. Last week they held the Bills to just 3 points in the wild card round. Also, the Jags and Steelers have met previously and the Jags defense demolished Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers. They forced 5 INT and held Roethlisberger to a QBR of 22.2. Ultimately beating the Steelers 30-9 in Pittsburgh. I’m not sure if the Jags defense will have the same success this time around but one thing is for sure, the Steelers do not want to face the Jags.
To me the magic number is going to be 21 and 25 for the Steelers. If they can score 21 points, I don’t see how the Jags offense can keep up. Ill explain what 25 means for the Steelers in a second. The Steelers rank 4th in passing and 6th in rushing this year according to footballoutsiders.com. Now the Jags defense rank 1st in passing defense but 26th in rushing defense so if the Steelers are going to be successful on offense this game, they need to give RB LeVeon Bell the ball at least 25 times. The Steelers are likely to have Antonio Brown after facing an injury in week 15. So, Ben Roethlisberger will have all the weapons in place to attempt to take revenge on the Jags.
The Jags biggest problem on their team is their offense. Sure, they have the most rush yards compared to any other team this year, that doesn’t mean that they are as efficient. In fact, despite for rushing for the most total yards this year, the Jags rank 12th in rushing efficiency. In the Jags wild card game last week versus the Bills, their leading rusher was their QB Blake Bortles who had 88 rushing yards. His rushing yards happened to be more than he passed for. This was rare for Bortles as he is not a running QB. Never the less, this team is still a good running team. As far as passing… not so much. The passing offense on this team is average. They have improved from last year. Which is something to note. But how does this Jags offense compare to the Steelers defense?
The Steelers Defense is ranked 8th against the pass and 18th against the run. So the Steelers shouldn’t have any problems with the passing attack. As far as the rushing attack, look for the Jags to run a lot and exploit the Steelers defensive weakness.
The Jags do matchup well with the Steelers despite being a touchdown underdog heading into the game. But the Jags offense just isn’t good enough to keep up with the Steelers. They are going to need a similar performance from their defense and force many turnovers to win this game. Although I do believe they will get a couple of turnovers from the Steelers. I still don’t think the Jags will produce enough offense to win this game. The pressure will be on QB Blake Bortles.
Prediction: Steelers: 24 – Jaguars 17