Jacksonville Jaguars (11-6) at Pittsburgh Steelers (13-3)
|Date & Time||Sunday January 14, 2018, 1:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: Pittsburgh Steelers -7 -- Over/Under: 41
The Jacksonville Jaguars and Pittsburgh Steelers meet Sunday in the NFL AFC Divisional Playoffs at Heinz Field.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are coming off a wild card victory over the Buffalo Bills and hope to make their first AFC Championship appearance since the 1999 NFL season. The Jacksonville Jaguars have lost their last three road games. Blake Bortles is completing 60.2 percent of his passes for 3,687 yards, 21 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Bortles has one or less touchdown passes in 10 of his last 14 games. Keelan Cole and Marqise Lee have combined for 1,450 receiving yards and six touchdowns while Allen Hurns has 39 receptions. The Jacksonville Jaguars ground game is averaging 141.4 yards per contest, and Leonard Fournette leads the way with 1,040 yards and nine touchdowns. Defensively, Jacksonville is allowing 16.8 points and 286.1 yards per game. Telvin Smith leads the Jacksonville Jaguars with 102 tackles, Calais Campbell has 14.5 sacks and A.J. Bouye has six interceptions.
The Pittsburgh Steelers haven’t had to play since New Years Eve and hope to make their third conference championship appearance since the 2010 NFL season. The Pittsburgh Steelers have won five of their last six home games. Ben Roethlisberger is completing 64.2 percent of his passes for 4,251 yards, 28 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. Roethlisberger has two or more touchdown passes in each of his last seven games. Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster have combined for 2,450 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns while Le'Veon Bell has 85 receptions. The Pittsburgh Steelers ground game is averaging 104.2 yards per contest, and Bell leads the way with 1,291 yards and nine touchdowns. Defensively, Pittsburgh is allowing 19.3 points and 306.9 yards per game. Sean Davis leads the Pittsburgh Steelers with 92 tackles, Cameron Heyward has 12 sacks and Artie Burns has 13 pass deflections.
The Jaguars are 11-5 ATS in their last 16 vs. AFC, 1-4 ATS in their last 5 playoff games and 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games following a ATS loss. The Steelers are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 home games, 11-5-2 ATS in their last 18 playoff games and 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games overall. The Jaguars are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 meetings in Pittsburgh, 12-5 ATS in their last 17 meetings and the underdog is 9-1 ATS in their last 10 meetings.
I said last week that the Jacksonville Jaguars could make some noise in these playoffs because of their defense that gives up nothing easy. The Jags and Steelers met at Heinz Field back in week five, and Jacksonville smoked their boots by a score of 30-9. No matter how talented the Steelers offense is, Jacksonville isn't going to back down and is confident it has the ability to win this game. The problem is the Pittsburgh Steelers aren't the same team team as they were in the last meeting, winning 10 of their last 11 games and that one loss should have been a victory against the New England Patriots. (It was a catch) The Steelers offense is clicking and is expected to have a healthy Antonio Brown back on the field. If Pittsburgh can put some points up, I have little confidence that Blake Bortles can keep up. As we saw against the Bills, Bortles misses a lot of easy throws, and Jacksonville's offense is built to grind games out. Get down 10 or 14 points, and it could be tough for the Jags to bounce back. I want to believe in the Jaguars, but because of a weak QB, I have to take the Steelers by a touchdown.