The Jacksonville Jaguars have some tools to keep up with the Steelers.
If you put aside the Jacksonville Jaguars‘ 1-8 record, you will see a squad that plays hard week in and week out. Although most of their players won’t garner national attention or NFL awards, they have racked up some interesting numbers.
After ten weeks of football, James Robinson is on pace to go over 1,000 scrimmage yards. If he achieves the milestone against the Steelers (he will likely do it), he will be the fourth undrafted rookie running back to do it. Also, Keelan Cole and DJ Chark Jr. have shown in the last few weeks they can take over games.
On the other side of the ball, linebacker Myles Jack is the heart and soul of the Jaguars defensive unit. He has been his efficient self in 2020 despite dealing with injuries. Moreover, the team has a solid defensive tackle duo in Doug Costin and DaVon Hamilton.
This week, the ‘Jags’ will need all their playmakers to shine, as they will face an undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers team that will make them earn every yard. The Jaguars rank near the bottom of most meaningful categories while the Steelers are one of the top teams in the NFL on both offense and defense and are statistically the better team when you put both next to each other.
If the Jaguars want to have a chance to beat the Steelers, they can’t afford to lose these three key matchups.
Position matchups don’t favor the Jacksonville Jaguars versus the Steelers.
1. Jaguars offensive line vs Pittsburgh’s defensive line.
The Jaguars offensive line got reinforcements ahead of their Week 11 game. Center Brandon Linder will join the lineup after missing the Green Packers game. His return should bolster the performance of a unit that has allowed 28 sacks this season.
Meanwhile, the Steelers defense is filled with talent. Cameron Heyward, Stephon Tuitt, and Tyson Alualu form arguably the best defensive in the league. Their job is to take on blocks so T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree can pressure the quarterback, something they have done well this year.
2. Jacksonville’s wide receivers vs Steelers cornerback group.
If Laviska Shenault Jr. were to play, the Jaguars would likely be favored on this matchup, but he’s out with a hamstring injury. Keelan Cole and DJ Chark will be the team’s main two receivers and Chris Conley will see plenty of snaps too.
On the other hand, the Steelers have a pair of solid cornerbacks in Joe Haden and Mike Hilton, and a really good hybrid defensive back in Minkah Fitzpatrick. The three of them have combined for 110 tackles, four interceptions, and 16 pass deflections in 2020.
3. Jaguars quarterback Jake Luton vs Pittsburgh’s defense
Luton played well in his rookie debut and was 26-of-38 for 304 yards, one passing touchdown, and one interception against the Texans. However, he struggled when the Jaguars played the Packers. In that game, he went 18-of-35 for 164 yards, one touchdown, and one interception.
The Steelers defense ranks third in the league in points allowed and first in interceptions with 11 and first in sacks with 36. They know how to rattle opposing quarterbacks and force them into making mistakes. Luton needs to play the way he did against Houston. Otherwise, this could be a long day for the ‘Jags’.