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Mike Pelaia's First Look: Pittsburgh Steelers vs Jacksonville Jaguars

12 January 2018

However, even though the Jaguars defeated the Steelers 30-9 in a Week 5 game in Pittsburgh, it's hard to see Blake Bortles leading Jacksonville to a road win in a playoff game over the Steelers. The victor of this game will go to the AFC title game and battle the victor of the Patriots and Titans.

It would also be a major disappointment to most football fans who would like to see Ben Roethlisberger, Le'Veon Bell and Antonio Brown go to New England to take on Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola.

The Jaguars' defense will mitigate some of that, but scoring only 10 points - as Jacksonville did last week against the Bills - isn't going to be enough to beat the Steelers. Championship windows in particular are a fragile construct, and the Pittsburgh Steelers find themselves contemplating just how much longer theirs will remain open-at least, this current core's window. The Steelers nearly went undefeated over the final 11 games of the season, suffering their only loss to the New England Patriots because of a controversial call.

KEYS TO THE GAME: The Steelers made plenty of mistakes in their 30-9 loss to Jacksonville during the regular season.

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So far this season, the coldest game the Jags have played in was at Nashville playing the Tennessee Titans on December 31.

Just like that, Fournette and the Jaguars arrived, making the Steelers believers in the process. Ben Roethlisberger targeted Brown a staggering 19 times, with three of those ending up as interceptions. He had 101 catches for 1,533 yards and nine touchdowns. Bell and Martavis Bryant combined for 1,258 yards and five touchdowns. But that's what you get when you're go 11-34 in your first three seasons and throw 51 interceptions along the way. They can not let the Jaguars sustain drives even they don't all turn into points.

The Jaguars allowed 146 rushing yards per game during their initial five contests.

After the Jaguars beat the Texans 45-7 in Week 15, Texans pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney called Bortles "trash". Fournette must be utilized in the running game and as a receiver due to his athleticism.

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Pittsburgh averaged 4.33 yards per carry running up the middle during the regular season. When previewing Bills-Jaguars, the thought here was the Jaguars needed to make plays in the passing game, protect the ball and swarm defensively. But in a road matchup versus the Pittsburgh Steelers, it is pivotal that the group is as heavily equipped as it can be in the divisional round battle. Jacksonville won behind a defense that looked like one of the best units the National Football League has seen in years, and it was something the Jaguars did several times in 2017. The fact is their chances of winning this game hinge nearly completely on the way Bortles plays. The Jaguars picked up their fifth-year option in Bortles' rookie contract, at a salary of more than $19 million, for next season.

After losing to Jacksonville for the first time in a decade, Pittsburgh gets a shot at retribution in the playoffs.

It won't be easy, but the Steelers aren't expecting anything to be the rest of the way. The Steelers win by double digits over the Jaguars.

Sunday's AFC divisional-round game against Jacksonville will test that theory. Theismann said. "That would make sense for them".

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Mike Pelaia's First Look: Pittsburgh Steelers vs Jacksonville Jaguars