This is the Steel City Blitz Three-Point Stance. Your quick-hitting reference guide to everything you need to know about the Steelers and Jaguars in their week 11 match-up. It is sponsored by Nail the Number: The Fight Against Cancer.
What: Pittsburgh Steelers 6-2-1 at Jacksonville Jaguars 3-6
Where: TIAA Bank Field Jacksonville, Florida
When: 1pm ET Sunday November 18th, 2018
Weather: Partly cloudy and 72. 20% chance of rain.
Line: Steelers -5
Last Week: Jacksonville lost 29-26 in Indianapolis while Pittsburgh defeated Carolina 52-21.
TV: CBS: Jim Nantz, Tony Romo and Tracy Wolfson on the Sidelines.
TV Coverage in Your Area: Click on this link for the506.com to see if the game is on in your area.
Radio: Steelers Nation Radio/WDVE Bill Hillgrove, Tunch Ilkin and Craig Wolfley on the sidelines.
Head Official: Walt Anderson
Key Injuries: PIT: OT Marcus Gilbert (Knee) – Out
DE Stephon Tuitt (Elbow) – Out JAX: No. 60 OL A.J. Cann (Hamstring) – Questionable, No. 99 DT Marcell Dareus (Triceps/Back) – Questionable, No. 54 DT Eli Ankou (Calf) – Doubtful, No. 73 OL Josh Walker (Foot/Ankle) – Doubtful
No. 43 CB Quenton Meeks (Knee) – Out
2018 NFL Ranks:
Total Offense: PIT 4th JAX 19th Passing Offense: PIT 5th, JAX 14th Rushing Offense: PIT 21st, JAX 26th
Total Defense: PIT 8th, JAX 2nd Passing Defense: PIT 16th, JAX 1st Rushing Defense: PIT 4th, JAX 17th
AFC North Rankings: Pittsburgh 6-2-1 Cincinnati 5-4 Baltimore 4-5 Cleveland 3-6-1
This Week: Cincinnati at Baltimore, 1pm… Cleveland is on the BYE
What You Need to Know: Ben Roethlisberger is now 22-4 in primetime night games at Heinz Field… Antonio Brown is now tied for eighth with kicker Norm Johnson for all-time scoring by a Steeler with 452 points… Mike Tomlin is 92-15-1 when his team leads at halftime… SteelDad was 2-0 in his high school career against Jags’ running back coach Tyrone Wheatley.
What’s at Stake: For the Jaguars it’s simple; win or start planning for 2019. They already trail the other three teams in their division and are 0-3 against them and 2-4 versus the AFC. The Steelers know what lay ahead for them in terms of travel and tough opponents. Beating a reeling and desperate Jags’ team won’t be easy but it’s a must.
All-Time Series: Jaguars lead 12-11 and lead all-time in Jacksonville 7-5.
Series Highs: PASSING: Steelers Kordell Stewart 317 yards 10/26/1997, Jaguars Mark Brunell 308 yards 12/2/1999 RUSHING: Steelers Rashard Mendenhall 146 yards 10/16/2011, Jaguars Fred Taylor 234 yards 11/19/2000 RECEIVING: Steelers Yancey Thigpen 196 yards 10/26/1997, Jaguars Jimmy Smith 164 yards 9/22/1997
Last (Regular Season) Meeting: October 8th, 2017 in Pittsburgh. Jaguars 30 Steelers 9
Three Things We Need to See for a Steelers’ Victory:
Stop the Run. Ya, it doesn’t get any more simple than that I know but this week it really is job number one for the defense. Leonard Fournette is as healthy as he’s been since the season began and the Steelers are now without Stephon Tuitt. Keith Butler’s crew must create havoc for the Jags’ offensive line while keeping Fournette from getting turned up field. The D-Line has to keep guards and tackles off of the linebackers so they can scrape and shoot the gaps when necessary. But stopping the run also means putting the game in Blake Bortles’ hands and that’s a gamble I’ll take every time.
Do What You Do on Offense. Ben Roethlisberger is a veteran quarterback and I don’t see him taking the bait by Jags’ cornerback Jalen Ramsey. The younger guys must follow his lead. This offense has been clicking because it’s been incredibly balanced and Big Ben is allowing not just Antonio Brown, but a plethora of guys to make big plays. Jacksonville may be 3-6 but this defense is still very formidable and can’t be taken lightly. If the Steelers keep ‘doing what they do’ then there’s no reason they can’t grab a win.
Be Alert for Anything. The Jaguars are dead last in the AFC South and are desperately behind on tie-breakers. A loss is devastating so that means they’ll do anything to win this game. That means trick plays on offense, fake punts, fake field goals and more gambling on defense are all on the table. The Steelers can’t be complacent because that leads to a loss of focus and before you know it the momentum has changed and so too has the game.
Prediction: Don’t be surprised if half the stadium is waving Terrible Towels because many Jags’ fans have already thrown in their own towel. That said, I expect a dogfight that comes down to the fourth quarter. I already laid out the desperation Jacksonville will have and the Steelers have to counter that. Look for the Steelers to pull away late. Steelers 30 Jaguars 20
Season Prediction Record: 6-3