PITTSBURGH, Pa. (FNN SPORTS) – The second round of the NFL playoffs are kicking off this weekend and there is much to be excited and anxious about in regards to these games, starting with the Jaguars (8-4) versus the Steelers (10-1) game.
There’s been much talk revolving around this re-match, due to the surprising performance the Jaguars put on in week five, beating the Steelers 30-9. Jacksonville’s defense showed they are a force to be reckoned with, putting ample pressure on quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, forcing five interceptions and laying down two sacks. The Jaguars have a tough secondary match up for the Steelers offense, even with their talented wide receiver, Antonio Brown.
Steelers players on social media claim that Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles won’t get so lucky again and that they can handle “sacksville.” Bortles has been criticized for his inconsistency and turnover ratio, and because of that, Steelers players are doubtful as to what he will produce in this playoff game and his ability to continue carrying his team to another win.
Bortles is not alone when it comes to the Jaguars offense. The Jaguars have utilized dominant running back Leanord Fournette, who has had a successful and beneficial rookie season, rushing for 1,040 yards and scoring nine touchdowns. Not to mention, it is safe to say that with Jacksonville’s new name since week five, the Jaguars defense has definitely kept them in their games.
Pittsburgh is the opposite, having a very consistent and explosive offense, especially with the skills and abilities of wide receiver Antonio Brown, who has produced 1,533 yards and nine touchdowns and running back Le’Veon Bell rushing for 1,291 yards and nine touchdowns. It will hurt the Steelers if Brown isn’t healed after his calf tear, but sources say that we can expect to see Antonio Brown healed and active. Roethlisberger is confident in his defense and their capability to contain and possibly shake up Blake Bortles. If the Steelers can minimize Jacksonville’s offense, Pittsburgh should have no problem outscoring the Jaguars.
If Pittsburgh cannot contain Bortles and Fournette due to the Steelers defense not being as efficient as the Jaguars defense, this game will lean in favor of Jacksonville. If the Steelers’ criticism holds true that the Jaguars offense doesn’t pull through, then we’re looking at a Steelers victory. Either way, we’re in for a tight game. My guess is by a field goal difference.
Kasey Hudson is a sports contributor for Florida National News. | firstname.lastname@example.org