NFL Divisional Playoff Preview: Jaguars at Steelers


The biggest issue that hurt the Steelers was running back Leonard Fournette keeping the ball out of Blake Bortles hands.

Even though the Pittsburgh Steelers lost to the Jacksonville Jaguars the first time they played this season you can't put that on the defense. One player's performance worth taking into consideration, though: Bortles, who completed just 8 of 14 passes for 95 yards with an interception.

NFL Game Pass, the league's streaming service, is also showing the play-offs this season on a number of devices.

"Everything is a concern when you want to play better, when you don't play well", Marrone said.

Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier attends practice for the first time since his spinal injury against the Bengals on December 4. Using the win rates that fuel our weekly power rankings, which take into account a team's actual record and what its record should be based on points scored and allowed - also known as its Pythagorean win percentage - simulating the playoffs 5,000 times, the New England Patriots and Eagles have the best chances of winning Super Bowl LII. Like I always say, backup QBs are backup QBs for a reason. If Pittsburgh loses, like the Seahawks, I think a fair criticism is, the team has underachieved again. But I'm not thinking about that right now. Jacksonville is hoping that they can embarrass the offense as much as they did earlier this season.

Here go the Steelers again, two days out from a team that destroyed them, Jacksonville.

For instance, Philadelphia surrendered 7.7 fewer points per game than expected based on the down, distance and field position of each opposing play against. Roethlisberger has taken a seize-the-moment approach. Opposing backfields have run for 130 (Cincinnati), 152 (Baltimore) and 176 (Houston, although in a blowout) yards since the Steelers' defensive leader went down.

While this looks like a mismatch - and it pretty much is - the Titans proved to me last week that they are not to be easily counted out. This game is such a violent, physical game. "Once you start thinking about retirement - if the fire isn't there, if the passion isn't there, it's so hard". Especially not knowing. I am grateful to be here today. Foles does not possess a high floor that I typically target in cash games, but his upside and cheap salary makes him attractive in GPPs.

Pittsburgh's Week 5 loss to the Jaguars served as the turning point for the Steelers' season in 2017. The Jaguars were No. 2 in the National Football League interceptions (behind Baltimore's 22) and No. 2 in takeaways (with 33, trailing the Ravens' 34).

The Steelers want revenge from the 30-9 loss to Jacksonville in week five, where quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw five interceptions.

"That first Jacksonville game, I don't think he was mentally into the game the way he is now", Theismann said this week. Ben Roethlisberger? C'mon! But without Antonio [Brown], you don't know.

The Steelers have remained optimistic that Brown would return for the playoffs coming off of a partially torn calf muscle sustained against the Patriots in Week 15, and Tomlin said he had seen enough out of Brown's last two practices to believe he'll be on the field against the Jaguars.

That remains to be seen, of course.

He managed just 87 yards through the air against the Bills last week and though he made up yards with his legs, he will need to be better to topple an improved Pittsburgh outfit.

"Preparing for these guys is never easy", Roethlisberger said this week. Bortles looked shaky at best, and the Steelers will rattle him and force him to make poor choices with the football.

Jacksonville will face Bell, an All-Pro who was given a double bye going into the divisional round, with the No. 26 DVOA run defense. It's now second and 20, but as we saw Monday night the NCAA National Championship game, sometimes there's one more obstacle to overcome before the hero rises.

"It's the postseason", Roethlisberger said. Just the opportunity you get here is what it should mean to everybody and how special it is. I'm not sure. This is a tough call.