Jaguars vs. Steelers: Three bold predictions for Sunday
By David Levin
As the Jacksonville Jaguars prepare to face the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, the cloud of a five-game losing streak could come to an end this weekend.
Just think of how big the game would be between Jacksonville and Pittsburg would be if the Jaguars were 6-3 instead of 3-6? While a packed crowd will come to TIAA Bank Field on Sunday to cheer on the home team (and the many Steelers fans who will invade North Florida), the game itself has little to do with a rematch of the AFC Divisional Game and everything to do with stopping a dreaded five-game losing streak.
A win on Sunday, erasing the tension of losing and giving fans some hope for a turnaround is paramount on everyone’s mind. Facing a 6-2-1 Steelers team, winners of their last five games will be another tough task for Jacksonville.
A commitment to the run game last week in the 29-26 loss to the Indianapolis Colts proved to be an elixir to the poor offensive performance in recent weeks. Having Leonard Fournette did give this team a shot of adrenaline and should be something offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett plans for this weekend.
"“I think we committed to the run game and kept handing it off no matter what the situation was, and it definitely helped us,” he said."
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If Fournette continues to show he can handle a heavy workload, the Jaguars could control the clock and keep the Steelers offense off the field.
The Jaguars are still in the playoff hunt, ever so slight, but not there. They have to continue to push forward and get a complete game from the defense. The offense proved it could move the football last week. Stopping the Steelers passing game will be the biggest challenge on Sunday.
Here are three bold predictions for the Jaguars.
Fournette runs for 150 yards three touchdowns – I don’t think this is as far-fetched as it seems, but should the Jaguars bell cow get in a rhythm this weekend, he could have a huge game.
Fournette had 109 yards of offense last week – not bad for a guy who has missed seven games this season. In his second game back from a hamstring injury, he should run with more authority and hit the hole quicker. Yes, running backs do need time to get acclimated to game scenarios.
"“No matter what you do during practice, it’s always different from the game – especially with the volume of carries you’re going to get and the amount of snaps you’re going to play,” he explained."
The former LSU star rushed for 53 yards on 24 carries in a 29-26 loss to the Colts Sunday, catching five passes for 56 yards at Indianapolis.
Jalen Ramsey gets two interceptions – Jalen Ramsey was the talk of Jacksonville this week, It wasn’t the kind of press that fans cheered about. After taking to Twitter and posting comments about potentially leaving Jacksonville, the third-year cornerback cleared the air, professing he wanted to play for one team his whole career.
For now, Ramsey has professed his love for Jacksonville although he did not endear himself to the fan base on social media.
Ramsey needs a big game to silence critics, who also were quick to judge whether the All-Pro was playing his own style of football instead of staying within Todd Wash’s scheme last week. There were too many busted plays in the secondary in the first half at Indianapolis.
The matchup with Antonio Brown is worth the price of admission. I want to see if Ramsey comes out and plays inspired football this week.
Josh Lambo wins the game in the closing seconds – This has all the makings of one of those really ugly games. Maybe low-scoring with a game-winning field goal decides the outcome.
Hopefully, it is Josh Lambo who gets that opportunity. In a season that has gone wrong on so many levels, Lambo has been one of the bright spots on the Jaguars roster this season. Despite missing his first field goal of the season last week in Indianapolis, is there any reason not to believe if the game is on the line, he will deliver?
Lambo has been made 14 of 15 field goals this season and converted 14 of 15 extra point attempts. Jacksonville may be able to move the football like they did last week, which means their kicker has more opportunities to put points on the board.