The Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Tennessee Titans on Thursday Night Football, placing more emphasis on the Jacksonville Jaguars to take care of business on Sunday.
There are very few reasons for Jacksonville Jaguars fans to ever root for the Pittsburgh Steelers. An old divisional foe back in the since disbanded AFC Central, the Steelers were a heated rival, and little has changed since the teams joined separate divisions.
But Thursday Night provided a very rare change of the norm, as a Pittsburgh win would do Jacksonville a big favor. Beating the Titans at home would give the Jaguars the lead in the AFC South, and the Steelers did just that in a 40-17 blowout.
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So Jacksonville has leaped to the division lead, and with that, the emphasis to not stumble against a far inferior opponent in the Cleveland Browns has become even more crucial.
The Jaguars have won three in a row, and are expected to beat the winless Browns on Sunday, despite warnings of it being a prototypical trap game. Focusing on the next opponent and not getting complacent is always a must regardless, but with this newly instilled opportunity to gain a full one game lead on the Titans, any thoughts remaining of Jacksonville overlooking Cleveland should be put to bed.
It’s not that Jacksonville didn’t control their own destiny even if Tennessee had won, considering the two teams still have a head-to-head matchup left. But having this opportunity to seize control on Sunday, for a squad that has had no problem carrying the most hype a Jacksonville team has garnered in a decade, is more than enough reason to play a complete game and get the win in Cleveland.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are a team that doesn’t need extra motivation, no matter the opponent. But with the opportunity to plant a flag atop the AFC South after week 11, don’t expect a letdown against the Cleveland Browns. And much like the success the team shows with holding onto a lead they get in a game, leaving with the lead in the division might be all it takes for the Jaguars to continue to win and never relinquish control.