By Dustin Fletcher | email@example.com
Sunday, the Jaguars will look to stop their five-game slide against the red hot Steelers.
Earlier in the season, completely opposite of the Jaguars, alarm bells were ringing in Pittsburgh. Star running back LeVeon Bell was holding out for a new contract. The team was tying the Cleveland Browns. In the first game of the season, the Jaguars were beating up on the New York Giants.
Fast forward 10 weeks, the Steelers look like their old, perennial Super Bowl contender selves. The Jaguars look like the Jaguars of old too. The Gus Bradley days, that is. The team has lost five straight games, and the defense caused last week’s loss. Blake Bortles threw screens and did what he had to do. The team smashed the ball up the middle, to no avail thanks to the offensive line. The defense, who has stayed among the best in this year apart from turnovers, lost them this game with 29 first half points.
They line up with a much tougher test this year. James Conner has been incredible at doing his best LeVeon Bell impression, who continued his hold out and is now gone for good. Big Ben has thrown to his plethora of weapons. This defense has rallied, even after losing Ryan Shazier last season to partial paralysis.
To be quite frank, the Jaguars are overmatched with this Steelers team. Linebacker T.J. Watt will get after Bortles all day and make life a living hell for the Jacksonville tackles. Antonio Brown may be the best receiver to ever play football. JuJu Smith-Schuster will be matched up with AJ Bouye and will have a massive size advantage. The linebackers have to deal with the two-headed tight end monster of Vance “Stiff Arm” McDonald and Jesse James. Most of all, this team that cannot stop the run will play against one of the league’s top rushing attacks.
The best chance Jacksonville has in this game is to constantly pressure Big Ben, and from there, hope he makes some mistakes like last year’s two matchups.
Apart from that, the offense will have to hold the ball for long periods of time running the ball. They’ll need to keep the Steelers offense off the field, along with minimizing chances for Bortles to do Bortles things.
I predict the Steelers will come out fast and force the Jaguars into a shootout. This Jacksonville team is built to do the opposite of score with a big play offense. Bigger surprises have happened, but I wouldn’t hold your breath, Jacksonville.
Prediction: Steelers 31- Jaguars 20