Pittsburgh Steelers vs Jacksonville Jaguars: Preview and Predictions

Injury concerns over linebacker Paul Posluszny have proved unfounded

If anyone is built to stop the Steelers' offense in the AFC, it is the Jaguars.

Roethlisberger's Steelers have lost only three regular-season games this year, but their loss to the Jaguars - a 30-9 drubbing at home in Week 5 - has certainly been on his mind for the intervening weeks. The Jags' star-studded defense has held three of its last four opponents to 15 or fewer points, and they completely shut down the Buffalo Bills in a 10-3 wild-card round victory. Jacksonville beat the Steelers quite handily at Heinz Field earlier this year. Even if he isn't 100%, the Jags still need to account for, and fear, No. 84.

Pittsburgh is dealing with a lot of "self-inflicted" outside noise this week going into Sunday's matchup.

"Obviously any game that we're going to play - since it's the postseason - is going to be a hard opponent", Roethlisberger said.

On Sunday, Jacksonville will do battle with the Pittsburgh Steelers for the right to play in the AFC Championship Game.

"That game for our entire group was kind of a watershed moment", offensive coordinator Todd Haley said January 11.

Someone needs to tell Mike Mitchell he's not playing the New England Patriots this weekend.

Pittsburgh running back Le'Veon Bell was asked about his contract situation.

He managed just 20 yards on six carries before leaving in the second quarter of a 36-17 loss to New England and spent the rest of the game watching from the sideline, helpless amid the blowing snow. "I'm not going to settle for anything", Bell said. Especially not knowing. I am grateful to be here today.

Ben Roethlisberger had a game to forget the last time Pittsburgh met the Jaguars
Ben Roethlisberger had a game to forget the last time Pittsburgh met the Jaguars

Blake Bortles remembers the first time Jalen Ramsey got under his skin.

Perhaps he's forgetting the Jaguars beat the Steelers 30-9 during the regular season in Week 5.

"We didn't necessarily stick to our game plan, we had to start playing catch-up a little bit, so we couldn't really run the ball as much as we wanted to", Bell said. Some just, some not so just, but the only reason the scrutiny is so high is because the Jaguars are good as a whole.

The story of the teams' first meeting was of Jacksonville's ability to create turnovers on defense and to run the ball at will on offense. Burns' ball skills were heralded at Miami, but he has just one interception this season, coming on a disgusting pass against the Texans' third-string quarterback. Also, in the week five matchup vs. Pittsburgh, Bortles threw for just 95 yards. But having those guys healthy enough to play their normal roles and having the defense as fully staffed as possible heightens Jacksonville's chances of pulling out the win exponentially.

Bortles will have full complimentary of receivers when Jacksonville's travels to Heinz Field. But that option year is guaranteed only for injury.

In the October 8 game, Fourrnette ran for 181 yards and two touchdowns, including a 90-yard TD late in the game. DE Cameron Heyward led team and tied for 3rd in AFC with career-high 12 sacks. The Steelers will load the box and dare Jacksonville to pass.

That win put Jacksonville above.500 and matched their win total from the previous season. If under pressure, bad Bortles throws to the wrong jerseys. We've got to keep him in the pocket. Grant was fifth in the National Football League in kickoff return average (24.9 yards per) and wide receiver Jaydon Mickens was fourth in punt return average (10.3), including a 63-yard touchdown against Cincinnati. And when Big Ben struggles, the team often goes down with him. Blake Bortles' first postseason victory came with a hefty dose of criticism.

Bortles has received criticism from far and wide across the league this season. However, the ups and downs of their quarterback and running back duo is what has stalled the ceiling of the team.

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