Steelers Vs Jaguars Win/Loss Scenarios

Back at it, breaking down what the Pittsburgh Steelers have to do to win (or lose) in their first playoff game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. My always unreliable prediction at the bottom.

The Steelers Will Win If…

– They don’t blow any coverages. Saying this for roughly the 20 thousandth time. But it’s so critical and you guys know I’ve been skeptical at this secondary’s ability to play smart and clean for the entirety of a playoff run. Finding out that answer begins today. To win this game, I really think the Jags need some big plays offensively, more than what they did in the first matchup, because Ben Roethlisberger won’t hand them 14 points again.

Communicate well, pass things off, don’t get picked in man coverage. Blake Bortles can’t have anything easy. Make him work and you seriously increase your chances of winning.

– Establish an interior run game. I think it’s going to be hard running to the outside against these speedy linebackers and athletic defensive ends. Running inside won’t be as easy this time around after Jacksonville traded for NT Marcell Dareus and the run game has improved by about a yard per carry since then. But that’s the ticket to moving the ball on the ground. Interior guys gotta go to work.

– Zone coverage is effective. Man coverage is nice but I’m still worried about letting Bortles break the pocket and eyes being late to the ball. That happened last week against Buffalo. If you can play zone, you can do a better job of containing his legs and capitalize on the mistake balls he does throw. Still want good reroutes, still want to be able to carry #2 down the seam so Cover 3 doesn’t get exposed, but if zone can be effective, the Jaguars are going to really struggle.

The Steelers Lose If…

– Their run fits are bad. Been a “popcorn” issue throughout the year. Sean Davis is going to play a key role in not letting Leonard Fournette bust any big runs. But this is an 11 man job. Jaguars have the physicality up front to get a push at the first level and swallow up the linebackers. Fournette isn’t a particularly scary runner, worn down by the long season and several lower body injuries, but that doesn’t mean this run game is getting shut down.

– Jacksonville wins the field position battle. That’s how they’re going to keep this game competitive. A couple first downs can be nearly as good as a score. Pin the Steelers deep and hope their defense can force a three and out, giving Bortles and company a short field to work with.

For Pittsburgh, that means having their own success on a long field. Get the ball inside your ten? At least pick up a first down and if/when you punt, the Jags aren’t in a great spot.

Todd Haley’s scheme doesn’t get guys open. No doubt the Steelers have a great supporting cast…you don’t need me to tell you that. But like I wrote yesterday, some spacing concepts/playaction are going to be the ticket to beat Jacksonville. If Haley runs straight verts, not much in the middle of the field, the offense is going to sputter. And I’ll be the first to say it.

Prediction

Steelers: 16
Jaguars: 14

Season Record

12-4

About the Author

Alex Kozora
Full-time blogger from mom's basement. Marrying tape and statistics. Chidi Iwuoma is my favorite Steeler of all-time.
  • Stevie D

    Hearing AB not going play today from ESPN

  • Conserv_58

    They lied. According to the NFL network he’s 100% cleared to play.

  • Conserv_58

    IMO, this is going to be another nail biter of a game because these two teams are so closely matched. We all know what the Steelers must do to move on. First and foremost, Do not look past this game! Be disciplined. Do not turn the ball over. Do not give the jags any momentum. Win the war in the trenches. Keep Ben upright and sack free.

  • Get_at_Me

    Wow, calling for a tight, low scoring game? The offenses aside from NE have sputtered in the Divisional Round so far so i guess its not far fetched, but its hard to imagine the Steelers not putting up points today.

  • heath miller

    well it depends on how we come out .. i mean some have not played in 20 days … AB in more like 40 days .. so there will be some rust ..

  • Jason

    Not what they said. They said he’s testing the calf pregame and will not be 100%

  • Chris

    If Ben doesn’t turn the ball over we win. Pittsburgh 20 Jacksonville 13.

  • DoctorNoah

    PGH 31-16

  • pittfan

    21-6

  • Jason Vancil

    Don’t hand Jax the ball and they wont score much. We do enough to win 23-10

  • Nolrog

    I agree with that completely, except the score. I think it’s going to be much closer. Like a 13-10, 15-9 (all FGs) kind of game.

  • Rocksolid20

    Hunter would have dressed if AB wasn’t playing .

  • RASTA

    Imho I think it is Bortles’ turn for a five-interception game in the freezing cold with a rested and fired up Steelers D harassing him all day.

    Steelers going to the Super Bowl!

  • Orlysteel

    Rasta Man vibration, positive!

  • Steve Johnson

    They don’t blow any coverage’s? HA!

    Yep, you’re right, how many times have that scenario been discussed here on this message board? If Blake Bortle’s goes out there this afternoon and throws for 200 yards plus, if the secondary continuously looks confused and out of place, Carnell Lake should be standing in the unemployment line first thing tomorrow morning.

    And although tomorrow is a Federal Holiday, he needs to get a head start and be there standing tall at 8:00am sharp. Better yet, Mike Mitchell can join him.

  • Trueish90

    i say air it out! They should go into this game with the mindset that they are going to be explosive and challenge the jags down field because that’s who they are. The steelers don’t dink and dunk they make plays down field. That’s what happened last game they stole our identity.

  • WeWantDaTruth

    Jags know Steelers will focus on shutting down Fournette. Need to be aware of Jags trickery (flea flicker on first play, etc).