Jordan DeFigio, @fidgenewton
“We are not a Big Ten team playing a MAC opponent,” Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said of their upcoming game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Maybe he said it because there are no easy wins in the NFL. Maybe he said it because his team has historically struggled against the Jaguars, especially in Jacksonville. Either way, this 1 pm EST matchup (broadcast on CBS) will say a lot of who the Steelers are and what the future of their season will be.
MATCHUPS AT A GLANCE
The Jaguars swiftly fell from their lofty tower after the 2017 season where they reached the AFC Championship game against the New England Patriots. Since, they’ve lost Jalen Ramsey, Leonard Fournette, Calais Campbell, Yannick Ngakoue, and even Blake Bortles. The 2020 Jaguars are led by Jake Luton, D.J. Chark, James Robinson (who has been the one saving grace of the team), and an ever-struggling defense of Josh Allen, Josh Jones, and Sidney Jones. And this cast of characters has chalked up a 1-8 record, along with a slew of unimpressive stats.
Luton, who took over for the injured Gardner Minshew, has thrown for 473 yards. Chark leads the team in receiving yards at 493, and Robinson leads in rushing yards at 689.
But if there’s one thing Steeler Nation can attest to, it’s that the worse the team, the harder the battle.
Even more so when the bad team is the Jaguars.
Will Ben Roethlisberger and the offense find a way to utilize James Conner and ignite the run-game? Will they put up the points they should with Chase Claypool and JuJu Smith-Schuster and Diontae Johnson and James Washington and Eric Ebron (you get the point)?
Will T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree and Cam Heyward and Tyson Alualu (again, you get the point) shut down the run game of Robinson and put the pressure on Luton? Will Joe Haden and Minkah Fitzpatrick and Steven Nelson lock in their game and take advantage of a young, inexperienced quarterback like they should?
We’re only 24 hours away from finding out.
This section has been so laughably wrong every single week that I’m at a loss for what to even guess for tomorrow’s game. Probably a close one? Maybe low scoring? Who knows. I think the Steelers will win, exorcise some demons along the way, and ultimately score 20 over the Jags who may or may not score 10 or 13.
The Steelers play very poorly against Jacksonville. Especially in Jacksonville. I’ve said it a lot but it can’t be stated enough.
And if they go into this game IN Jacksonville and find a way to win?
I think they really could go all the way.
What are your predictions for the game? Let us know in the comments below.