Pittsburgh At Jacksonville: 5 Things To Know
The 2-2, inconsistent Pittsburgh Steelers will trot in to EverBank field this Sunday afternoon to play the 0-4, battered Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Jaguars are coming off a 33-14 defeat from the hands of the San Diego Chargers — a game in which Jaguars rookie quarterback Blake Bortles made his first start. Considering it was Bortles first career NFL game, he played very well. He completed 78 percent of his passes, threw for a touchdown and was picked off
In Week 3, the Steelers routed the Panthers 37-19, but last week Pittsburgh wasn't able to keep the lowly Tampa Bay Buccaneers at bay. With 12 seconds left in the game, Buccaneers quarterback Mike Glennon tossed a game-winning five-yard pass to wideout Vincent Jackson for a touchdown.
1. Steelers defense is pitiful
Last week, The Steelers defense made Glennon look like Aaron Rodgers. Glennon threw for 300 yards and easily drove the Buccaneers down the field for the game-winning drive. The Pittsburgh defense has allowed a myriad of explosive plays this season. This may be the perfect defense for the Jaguars' lackluster offense to play.
The Jaguars currently posses one of the league's worst offenses. The Jaguars are ranked 31st in the NFL in total offense. With the current state of the Steelers defense and the emergence of Bortles, at the very least, there is a decent chance the Jaguars offense will play fairly well.
2. Jaguars wide receivers are beat up
Cecil Shorts and Marqise Lee, the Jagaurs' top-two starting wideouts, will not play against the Steelers due to injuries. That will limit the Jaguars offense significantly. Without the team's top-two receivers, Bortles will likely find himself in a pickle. Glennon was able to play well against the Steelers defense, but he was equipped with good receivers to whom he could throw.
3. Steelers will likely have trouble protecting the quarterback
The Jaguars have 12 sacks this season, which is tied for second in the league. The Steelers have allowed 11 sacks this season, making them the third-most sacked team in the NFL.
Steelers left tackle Kelvin Beachum allowed three sacks against the Buccaneers last week. Jaguars defensive end Andre Branch, who is listed as probable for Sunday's game with a hip flexor, has recorded three sacks this season. It should not bewilder anybody if Branch puts Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger on his back at least once this Sunday.
4. Jaguars secondary will likely be scorched
The Jaguars rank dead last in the NFL in pass defense. They give up 320 yards of passing per game. And they have given up 11 touchdown passes this season, which is the most out of any team in the league. Plus starting cornerback Dwayne Gratz has been ruled out against the Steelers.
The Steelers are eighth in the league in passing offense. Roethlisberger has been on top of his game for most of the season. It's hard to not envision Roethlisberger having a field day against Jacksonville's secondary.
5. Le'Veon Bell is essential to Steelers' success
The Steelers are undefeated this season when their running back Le'Veon Bell runs the ball 20-plus times; they are winless when Bell rushes under 20 times. Bell holds second-place in total rushing yards with 378. It would not be surprising if the Steelers give the ball to Bell a lot early in the game.
The Steelers defense has a lot of holes, but it's unlikely that the Jaguars can expose them because of the injuries on offense. The Steelers offense is far and away superior to the Jaguars defense. Even if the Jaguars muster up a decent offensive showing, the Steelers offense should outscore them greatly. Prediction: Steelers 38-17.