JACKSONVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 09: Maurice Jones-Drew #32 of the Jacksonville Jaguars stiff-arms Leon Hall #29 of the Cincinnati Bengals during play at EverBank Field on October 9, 2011 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
The Jacksonville Jaguars travel to Heinz Field on Sunday to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers. Typically, the Pittsburgh Steelers are a team that other teams cannot run on, but in 2011 they're allowing over 100 yards a game on the ground. Not only that, but the Steelers defense could be without up to three key defensive players on gameday. Linebacker James Harrison we know will be out, recovering from eye surgery. The Steelers could also be with nosetackle Casey Hampton and defensive end Aaron Smith. That's two thirds of a normally very, very good defensive line that eats up offensive lineman and frees up the Steelers linebackers.
Given that, Jones-Drew should see plenty of carriers. He's currently on pace for the best season of his career rushing the ball averaging 95.2 yards a game and 5.0 yards per carry. That means if he keeps his current averages up, he should get around 1,500 rushing yards on the season and could challenge Fred Taylor for the Jaguars career leader in rushing yards in a single season.
Now, I'm not expecting Jones-Drew to run for a buck-30 against the Steelers defense, but the Jaguars should be able to grind out yards on the ground and keep themselves out of third and long situations. The last time the Jaguars played the Steelers (2008), Jones-Drew was limited to just 5 carries for 7 yards.