Pittsburgh Steelers vs Jacksonville Jaguars Preview
Welcome to the NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers vs Jacksonville Jaguars Preview! This is your one-stop shop for everything you need to know about the Steelers and their upcoming opponent! Mike Drakulich brings you inside the huddle for both teams, provides a game outlook, score prediction, individual stats, team stats, Fantasy Football impact, the most up-to-date injury report, and even the weather at kickoff! The only thing you’re missing is a game uniform!
A look at the Pittsburgh Steelers!
Overall Record: 3-1
Head Coach: Mike Tomlin (11th Season with Steelers)
Overall Regular Season Record: 106-58 (.644)
Playoff Record: 8-6 (Qualified for playoffs 7 times)
Last Game: Steelers 26 Ravens 9
Breakdown of the Steelers
Quarterback- Ben Roethlisberger leads a power offense that can beat you via the ground or the air. Big Ben has been outstanding at home but has struggled to put up the same numbers on the road the past few seasons.
Running Backs- Le’Veon Bell is the best all-around back in the NFL, with much respect to David Johnson. Bell can kill you on the ground with his speed and elusiveness. He is patient, often delaying a second to find the hole to burst through. Bell is also dangerous out of the backfield as a pass catcher. James Conner will spell Bell from time to time.
Wide Receivers- Antonio Brown is one of the best receivers in the game. You can count on five catches for at least 50 yards every week at a minimum. This wideout group is extremely deep and talented. Martavis Bryant is back from suspension and is a deep threat on every play with his size and speed. Eli Rogers is excellent from the slot. Justin Hunter has superior speed and is also a deep threat. Rookie Juju Schuster-Smith is looking to make his mark in the NFL in his first season and is already becoming a reliable Roethlisberger target. Darrius Heyward-Bey is mainly used on special teams but is a dependable player when called upon in the passing game.
Tight Ends- Jesse James is the starter and becoming one of Roethlisberger’s favorite targets around the end zone. Vance McDonald is a big target that can make splash plays for Roethlisberger across the middle and inside the red zone. Xavier Grimble is also a nice target for Ben inside the 10-yard line.
Defense- The Steeler defense is primed for an awakening in 2017. On the 3-4 defensive line, it’s Cam Heyward, Javon Hargrave, and Stephon Tuitt. Daniel McCullers will rotate with Hargrave. Should Tuitt or Heyward go down, Tyson Alualu or L.T. Walton would step in.
At linebacker, rookie TJ Watt starts at OLB, with Ryan Shazier and Vince Williams in the middle. Bud Dupree stands opposite of Watt. Both can get to the quarterback and disrupt the opposing team’s passing game. Shazier is a stud in the middle and his speed makes him a nightmare for any QB who makes a mistake across the middle. Don’t count out James Harrison, who will rotate in to spell Watt or Dupree. Anthony Chickillo will also step in for injuries to Watt or Dupree on the outside and is making a name for himself every time he steps on the field.
The secondary has been revamped with the addition of Joe Haden at corner. He won’t have to guard the opposing team’s #1 wide receiver on every down, as that job falls to Artie Burns. Mike Mitchell lines up at free safety, with JJ Wilcox backing him up if injured. Sean Davis is getting better by the game at strong safety. Mike Hilton and Will Gay will be in at slot corner positions when called upon.
A look at the Jacksonville Jaguars!
Overall Record: 2-2
Head Coach: Doug Marrone (2nd Season with Jaguars)
Overall Regular Season Record: 18-20 (.474) | 3-3 (.500) with Jacksonville
Playoff Record: 0-0 (Qualified for playoffs 0 times)
Last Week: Jets 23 Jaguars 20, OT
Breakdown of the Jaguars
Quarterback- Blake Bortles has yet to live up to the expectations of the Jaguars.
Running Backs- Rookie Leonard Fournette is the real deal.
Wide Receivers- Not a very deep group. Allen Hurns and Marqise Lee lead the way as their best duo. Keelan Cole is the 3rd option, but he only has four catches so far in 2017.
Tight Ends- Marcedes Lewis is hardly utilized, but he does have four catches, three of them for scores.
Defense- Better than expected. The Jaguars are only giving up 312.5 yards a game, but it isn’t like they’ve played Joe Montana’s 49ers or Kurt Warner’s Greatest Show on Turf. They lead the league in sacks with 18. The Steelers are second with 15.
Pittsburgh, it seems, isn’t the safest city for water coolers. Even on the road, they may face attack by one of Pittsburgh’s sports athletes. A few years ago, the Pittsburgh Pirate’s Sean Rodriguez went George Foreman on one as the Pirates were being ousted by the Chicago Cubs in the N.L. Wildcard Game. Last Sunday in Baltimore, it was Antonio Brown’s turn to unleash his fury on the orange plastic containers that provide a source of nourishment for thirsty players.
All joking aside, Mike Tomlin and Ben Roethlisberger would like the team to focus on improving their overall play and jump starting an offense that has yet to live up its lofty standards set in the preseason.
“Be a professional,” Tomlin said.
Brown went a little crazy on the Steelers sideline after Roethlisberger didn’t see him on a route during Pittsburgh’s 26-9 victory over Baltimore last Sunday.
“It’s causing a distraction that none of us really need,” Roethlisberger said.
Tomlin continued to make his feelings known without hesitation.
“AB is a competitor. We all know and understand that. It aids him. It aids us,” Tomlin said. “But we have to control it. He has to control it. If he does not, it could work against him. It could work against us. It doesn’t need to happen. It shouldn’t happen. Hopefully it won’t, moving forward. Hopefully, he’s learned a lesson from that. Hopefully, others have learned a lesson from that. … We’ve got young people on our team. They need to be taught good things, good lessons, ways to conduct themselves as professionals.”
On Wednesday, Brown responded to the world via Twitter saying, “Apologize for all the noise and the distractions Steeler nation let’s stay focus #Pushfor7″
While Roethlisberger looks downfield to Brown on Sunday, he’ll be counting on his offensive line to keep him upright. While the Steelers defense is 2nd in the league with 15 sacks, it’s Jacksonville who leads it all with 18. Big Ben will have his hands full getting the passing game up to speed, as the Jaguars are only giving up 154 yards a game through the air. One could note that the Jags haven’t exactly gone against Marino and Montana so far. They have faced Deshaun Watson in his NFL debut, Marcus Marriota, Joe Flacco, and Josh McCown.
Facing the Steelers passing attack will be a much stiffer test for the Jaguars on Sunday.
On the flip side, the Steeler defense will be coming after Jags QB Blake Bortles, and when they do, he had better be on the lookout for Ryan Shazier when he looks across the middle for one of his receivers.
Shazier has five interceptions in his last nine games played.
“I’ve watched him from afar,” said cornerback Joe Haden. “Now being here, and watching how he’s all around the field, he literally goes sideline to sideline. He has really, really good instincts, and he’s super athletic. He can jump high. He has really good hands. He’s always around the ball. He just has really good instincts reading the quarterback. When he’s in zone coverage, he’s just reading the quarterback’s eyes and breaking on it.”
Haden had the luxury of seeing him twice a year since he was drafted when he was a member of the Cleveland Browns.
Shazier is kind of like former NBA defensive great Dikembe Mutumbo when it comes to defending his turf.
“I try to take a lot of pride in it,” Shazier said. “I hate when people catch the ball in my area. I don’t want people throwing the ball in my area. If you do that, I want them to know they’re going to have bad consequences.”
On the road, these are the types of games that make your nervous if you are a Steeler fan. But since this one will be played in the comfy confines of Heinz Field, look for a Steeler team that is starting to come together as thee Super Bowl favorites in the NFL. A balanced attack should open some deep routes that Roethlisberger and his wide-outs have just been missing on. Sooner or later, those passes are going to start being caught. As good as Jacksonville’s pass defense is, their run defense is deplorable. Le’Veon Bell could be in store for a big day. If Bell gets it going, the Jaguars will be forced to help out up front, allowing Roethlisberger some chances deep to Brown and Bryant.
“There is a reason why he is a Pro Bowl running back,” Jaguars coach Doug Marrone said. “You can see that on tape. He is very consistent. It will be a challenge, obviously, after what we have been doing and our rush defense.”
The defense, gashed by the Bear’s running attack a few weeks ago, will face a stern test from the rookie Leonard Fournette, who plays a style similar to Bell.
As long as the Steelers refrain from any backbreaking turnovers, they should be able to control this game early and get out to a nice lead in front of the home crowd.
“September is kind of a feeling-out process,” Roethlisberger said. “You’re kind of just jabbing around, dancing around, feeling your opponent out, your team out. Now you kind of have an understanding of where you are and where you want to get to.”
Prediction: Steelers 30 Jaguars 13
Fantasy Football Impact
Start: QB Ben Roethlisberger, WR Antonio Brown, RB Le’Veon Bell, Steelers D
Sleeper: WR Martavis Bryant
The big three of Roethlisberger, Brown, and Bell should always be in your starting line-up if you have them. Bryant might be in line for a big day. Call it a hunch.
Start: RB Leonard Fournette
Sit: Jacksonville WR’s
Fournette is the real deal and should get some yards, especially out of the backfield if the Jaguars fall behind big.
NFL Week 5
Pittsburgh Steelers (3-1) at Jacksonville Jaguars (2-2)
Venue: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA.
Game-time: Sunday, October 8th 1:00 pm
TV: CBS (Local KDKA-TV) | Announcers: Kevin Harlan (play-by-play) Rich Gannon (analyst) | N/A (sideline)
Local Radio: Pittsburgh- 102.5 WDVE-FM | Announcers: Bill Hillgrove (play-by-play) Tunch Ilkin (analyst) | Craig Wolfley (sideline)
National Radio: None | Announcers:
Weather at Kickoff: 76 with a 15% chance of rain.
Vegas Line: Pittsburgh -10
- Series History: Series began in 1995.
- The Steelers are 11-11 in the overall Regular Season series against the Jaguars.
- Steelers are 6-4 at home vs the Jaguars.
- Streak: Steelers won previous three meetings.
- Last Regular Season Meeting: Oct. 5, 2014, at Jacksonville- Pittsburgh 17 Jacksonville 9
- Steelers are 0-0 in the Post-Season vs the Jaguars.
- Last Post-Season Meeting: N/A
- Jaguars CB Lafayette Pitts and S Barry Church are from Pittsburgh, Pa. Pitts also played collegiately at the University of Pittsburgh.
- Jaguars LB Paul Posluszny is from Aliquippa, Pa., and played collegiately at Penn State.
- Ben Roethlisberger will become the 11th quarterback in NFL history to throw for at least 300 yards in 50 regular-season games and the ninth to do so with one team with 300 yards or more on Sunday.
- Antonio Brown needs one touchdown catch to tie Lynn Swann (51) for the third-most touchdown grabs in team history.
- Brown is 235 receiving yards from joining Hines Ward (12,083) as the second player in team history with at least 9,000 receiving yards.
- Le’Veon Bell’s next 100-yard rushing game will mark the 16th of his NFL career and will break a with tie John Henry Johnson for the ﬁfth-most 100-yard games in Steelers history.
- James Harrison is a half-sack from 80.0 in his career with the Steelers.
- William Gay will break a tie with Rod Woodson to set the record for the most interceptions returned for touchdowns in team history with his next pick six of six.
QB- Ben Roethlisberger (957 yards passing | 6 TD passes | 2 interceptions | 7 sacks)
RB- Le’Veon Bell (324 yards rushing | 3 rushing TD’s | 17 receptions | 98 yards receiving | 0 receiving TD’s)
RB- James Conner (46 yards rushing | 0 rushing TD’s | 0 receptions | 0 yards receiving | 0 receiving TD’s)
WR- Antonio Brown (30 receptions | 388 receiving yards | 1 receiving TD’s)
WR- Martavis Bryant (10 receptions | 183 receiving yards | 1 receiving TD’s)
WR- Eli Rogers (6 receptions | 54 receiving yards | 0 receiving TD’s)
WR- Juju Schuster-Smith (8 receptions | 102 receiving yards | 2 receiving TD’s)
WR- Justin Hunter (1 receptions | 5 receiving yards | 0 receiving TD’s)
WR- Darrius Heyward-Bey (0 receptions | 0 receiving yards | 0 receiving TD’s)
TE- Jesse James (15 receptions | 127 receiving yards | 2 receiving TD’s)
TE- Vance McDonald (0 receptions | 0 receiving yards | 0 receiving TD’s)
TE- Xavier Grimble (0 receptions | 0 receiving yards | 0 receiving TD’s)
K- Chris Boswell (Extra Point: 9-9 | FG: 7-9 | 0-19: 0-0 | 20-29: 1-1 | 30-39: 3-4 | 40-49: 3-4 | 50+: 0-0 | Long: 49)
QB- Blake Bortles (732 yards passing | 7 TD passes | 3 interceptions | 3 sacks)
RB- Leonard Fournette (285 yards rushing | 3 rushing TD’s | 12 receptions | 125 yards receiving | 1 receiving TD’s)
RB- Chris Ivory (118 yards rushing | 2 rushing TD’s | 7 receptions | 69 yards receiving | 0 receiving TD’s)
RB- Corey Grant (97yards rushing | 0 rushing TD’s | 2 receptions | 13 yards receiving | 0 receiving TD’s)
WR- Allen Hurns (16 receptions | 186 receiving yards | 2 receiving TD’s)
WR- Marqise Lee (13 receptions | 159 receiving yards | 0 receiving TD’s)
WR- Keelan Cole (4 receptions | 36 receiving yards | 0 receiving TD’s)
TE- Marcedes Lewis (4 receptions | 62 receiving yards | 3 receiving TD’s)
K- Jason Myers (Extra Point: 10-11 | FG: 9-11 | 0-19: 0-0 | 20-29: 4-4| 30-39: 2-3 | 40-49: 3-3 | 50+: 0-1 | Long: 45)
Steelers – Jaguars: Offensive vs Defensive Comparison
Steelers Offense: Steelers average 334.3 | Jaguars allow 312.5 YPG
Rushing: Steelers average 95 YPG | Jaguars allow 165.5 YPG
Passing: Steelers average 239.3 YPG | Jaguars allow 147 YPG
Scoring: Steelers average 22.5 PPG | Jaguars allow 18.5 PPG
Steelers Defense: Steelers allow 267 YPG | Jaguars average 331.8 YPG
Rushing: Steelers allow 113 YPG | Jaguars average 148.8 YPG
Passing: Steelers allow 154 YPG | Jaguars average 133 YPG
Scoring: Steelers allow 14.8 PPG | Jaguars average 27.3 PPG
Injury Report (10/6/2017)
Doubtful: T Marcus Gilbert (Hamstring)
Out: LB Lerentee McCray (Knee)
Questionable: WR Jaelen Strong (Hamstring), WR Marqise Lee (Ribs), S Jarrod Wilson (Shoulder), C Brandon Linder (Illness)
Pittsburgh Steelers 2017 Schedule
Friday, Aug. 11 @ New York Giants W, 20-12 (KDKA)
Sunday, Aug. 20 ATLANTA W, 17-13 (KDKA)
Saturday, Aug. 26 INDIANAPOLIS L, 19-15 (KDKA)
Thursday, Aug. 31 @ Carolina W, 17-14 (KDKA)
REGULAR SEASON (3-1)
Sunday, Sept. 10 @ Cleveland 1 p.m. (CBS), W– 21-18
Sunday, Sept. 17 MINNESOTA 1 p.m. (FOX), W– 26-9
Sunday, Sept. 24 @ Chicago 1 p.m. (CBS), L- 17-23
Sunday, Oct. 1 @ Baltimore 1 p.m. (CBS), W– 26-9
Sunday, Oct. 8 JACKSONVILLE* 1 p.m. (CBS)
Sunday, Oct. 15 @ Kansas City* 4:25 p.m. (CBS)
Sunday, Oct. 22 CINCINNATI* 1 p.m. (CBS)
Sunday, Oct. 29 @ Detroit* 8:30 p.m. (NBC)
Sunday, Nov. 5 BYE WEEK
Sunday, Nov. 12 @ Indianapolis* 1 p.m. (CBS)
Thursday, Nov. 16 TENNESSEE 8:25 p.m. (NBC/ NFL Network/Amazon)
Sunday, Nov. 26 GREEN BAY* 8:30 p.m. (NBC)
Monday, Dec. 4 @ Cincinnati 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Sunday, Dec. 10 BALTIMORE* 8:30 p.m. (NBC)
Sunday, Dec. 17 NEW ENGLAND* 4:25 p.m. (CBS)
Monday, Dec. 25 @ Houston 4:30 p.m. (NBC/ NFL Network/Amazon)
Sunday, Dec. 31 CLEVELAND* 1 p.m. (CBS)
* – Times may change due to ﬂexible scheduling
Sat.-Sun., Jan. 6-7 Wild Card Weekend
Sat.-Sun., Jan. 13-14 Divisional Playoﬀ Games
Sunday, Jan. 21 Conference Championships
Sunday, Jan. 28 Pro Bowl (Orlando, Fla.)
Sunday, Feb. 4 Super Bowl LII (Minneapolis, Minn.)