This matchup could ultimately become determined once again between the Steelers' explosive offense against the Jaguars' stout defense. The Jaguars forced Ben Roethlisberger into five interceptions - including two pick-sixes - and running back Leonard Fournette rumbled for 181 yards. The defense needs to step up big time if there's any chance the Jaguars are making it out of this round.
The Steelers do not care about Jacksonville's defensive prominence. "But you have to go out and play every play and enjoy every play and every game like it could be your last".
Are The Steelers Distracted?
Roethlisberger has been picked off on 23 occasions in 20 postseason games, with four of those coming last postseason.
The Steelers finished fifth in the National Football League in total defense (306.9) and 10th in run defense (105.8).
Steelers' offensive coordinator Todd Haley reportedly got into a bar fight last week (his second).
The Jaguars will prove that their defensive performance from Week 5 against the Steelers was no fluke on Sunday by forcing Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger into multiple turnovers.
"Just get the numbers straight, exactly where we want them". I think he's excited for each opportunity each week to go out there and get back on track and get back to playing the way he can play and the way everyone knows he can run.
The Steelers need to focus on the task at hand. The Falcons were strong against tight ends, as evident to the fact that the allowed the 24th-fewest points in the regular season. But the Jaguars defense is the most formidable Pittsburgh will see all season. To be fair, he also had a four-game stretch in December that saw him average well over 300 yards while tossing nine touchdowns with just three picks. "So I think we have a good chance of winning". If Bortles plays like he did vs. Buffalo, the Jags will lose. Roethlisberger is probably going to the Hall of Fame, while Bortles looked like a deer in headlights as a passer against Buffalo. Kyle Juzczyk recorded 76 receiving yards in the 49ers' December win, Derrick Henry broke loose on a 66-yard screen-pass score, and Bill running backs - with Tyrod Taylor not being able to locate his receivers - finished with 54 air yards. Jacksonville beat the Steelers quite handily at Heinz Field earlier this year. But that option year is guaranteed only for injury.
Shazier visited the Steelers' practice facility two days before Christmas and participated in team meetings before the team flew to Houston for a Christmas Day game. The Steelers will load the box and dare Jacksonville to pass. Jacksonville lost both games. CB Jalen Ramsey stole INT with 32 seconds remaining in game last week ...
Le'Veon Bell vs. Jags Front Seven: The weakest part of the Jaguars stout defense is the run game, especially right up the middle.
Against San Francisco and Tennessee, Bortles threw a combined two touchdowns and five interceptions. I have a sense that the Steelers will rattle Bortles and force him to make more poor decisions and throws.
Much of Jacksonville's burden for stopping Bell could fall to linebackers Telvin Smith and Myles Jack. "It's always good to see him".
But then there's Blake Bortles.
If the Bortles who showed up for most of December appears in Pittsburgh, this is a trouble spot for the Steelers.
Fournette and Bell don't lose fumbles often.
Roethlisberger had a solid regular season.
The team that protects the ball better and the team that can capitalize on turnovers has an inside track to the AFC Championship.