– Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles has only been sacked three times in four games in 2017. One bright spot? Russell Okung, who has been a better-than-advertised pass blocker, has helped the offensive line become fairly consistent when it comes to pass protection.
Two weeks ago, they drew the ire of many fans when they attempted to dodge controversy by staying in a stadium tunnel at Chicago rather than being on the field for the playing of the national anthem. Further, as charted by Football Outsiders, they are especially stingy against their opponents’ No. 1 receivers, on average limiting them to only 32.6 yards per game. The Steelers settled for a field goal after having first-and-goal from the Jaguars’ 5.
Also listed as questionable due to a rib injury, Jaguars receiver Marqise Lee is slated to play Sunday against Pittsburgh, a source said.
Coach Doug Marrone cautioned that it’s not all on the front four. “Now you kind of have an understanding of where you are and where you want to get to”. The Steelers quarterback threw not one, not two, not three and not four interceptions but a career-worst five. You know it’s a run. Starting 0-for-3 in the red zone was find when the Steelers held a 9-6 lead over Jacksonville early in the third quarter.
Le’Veon Bell is coming off a season-best performance with 144 rushing yards in Baltimore and more should be on the way this afternoon. The Bills are on a two-game winning streak and are expected to ride the momentum of their 23-17 triumph over NFC champions Atlanta Falcons in Week 4. They had a running back who could carry a heavy load and move the chains.
PREDICTION: The Steelers figure to get a lead and force Bortles to try to catch up, which is when Pittsburgh will put it away.
Can they stop the run? But at the end of it all, the Steelers should have too much to keep Jacksonville relevant for an entire 60 minutes. The Titans won the physical battle and by the second half, were gashing the Jaguars defense. The Steelers, on the other hand, are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 Week 5 games, 7-3-1 in their last 11 games vs. AFC, and 9-4-1 in their last 14 games overall. Brown will be a continued factor in the offense and things will run smoothly against a Jacksonville defense that can go from good to bad very quickly.
If the constant 300-yard games are in the past – and Roethlisberger’s 312 yards Sunday marked his first 300-yarder in his last in 11 regular season tries, amusing enough – then winning with ball control and defense is the recipe.