Four Down Territory: How the Jaguars win on Sunday
As Week 11 of the NFL season approaches the Jacksonville Jaguars will look to end a five-game losing streak when they face the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.
The Jacksonville Jaguars will have All-Pro cornerback A.J. Bouye on the field on Sunday when they face the Pittsburgh Steelers from TIAA Bank Field. For the first time since the 20-7 loss to the Houston Texans, the secondary will have all four of its regular starters on the field.
It could not come at a better time. Both he and Jalen Ramsey on guard, both Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster will have their hands full the entire game.
The Jaguars will have to defend the run and the pass with equal determination on Sunday. The Steelers offense is hitting its stride at the right time and the defense has been dominant over the past five victories. Bouye won’t work on a pitch count or be limited according to head coach Doug Marrone.
"“We’re going into the game with everything,” he said. “There are no limitations from that standpoint.”"
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The secondary has come under fire in recent weeks for a lack of communication that has resulted in broken coverage and too much open space in pass protection. It is something defensive coordinator Todd Wash and is players worked on in practice this week. Marrone said his team as a whole must take what they did in practice and carry it over to game day.
If Jacksonville can play better against the pass, they have a good shot of winning on Sunday.
Here are four keys to victory on Sunday.
First Down: Don’t turn the ball over – It sounds easy enough, but the Jaguars were driving down the field last week against Indianapolis for a possible win when Rashad Greene fumbled the ball on a completed pass.
Jacksonville must not turn the ball over and in doing so, score when they have the opportunity. Controlling the clock with the running game should be the focus of the game plan where Leonard Fournette has a chance to run between the tackles.
Second Down: Harrass Ben Roethlisberger – Ben Rothlisberger has looked solid this year, throwing for 21 touchdowns and only seven interceptions. Can the defense get enough pass rush to rattle him consistently?
Roethlisberger tossed five interceptions last season in the regular season contest against Jacksonville. I doubt it will be something he dwells on. But if he does throw an interception early, will it weigh on him psychologically and will it allow the Jaguars to get a few sacks in the process?
Third Down: Hold the line – The key to the Jaguars two wins last year was the ability to control the line of scrimmage on offense and get past the Steelers linemen on defense. This is a where injuries to the Jaguars offensive line may come into play.
Tyler Shatley and Ereck Flowers will have to come in and hold their opponents in check. While I have faith in Shatley playing center, Flowers is a question mark because of a lack of consistency. If the left tackle plays well, Blake Bortles should keep his jersey clean.
Fourth Down: Eliminate the past – The talk about Jacksonville has been how to stop a five-game losing streak. Ramsey said it is something that bothers the locker room as well.
Communication has broken down on the defensive side of the ball. Injuries have plagued the offense. A win will stop the bleeding and could mean this team gets back to playing its brand of football.
The Jaguars beat Pittsburgh in the fifth week of the season when few people gave them a chance. They should go into this game like they have nothing to lose. It may be the thing that helps lead them to victory.