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Jacksonville Jaguars v. Pittsburgh Steelers: Final Game Preview!


The Facts

Date: January 5th, 2007
Time: 8:00 p.m. EASTERN!!(THANKS MOM)
Location: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA
Records: Jaguars (11-5) , Steelers (10-6)
Weather: 37 degrees, 80% Chance of Rain, wind s, 9 mph
TV: National Broadcasting Company
Radio: 106.5 WOKV
Steelers Coverage: Behind the Steel Curtain

The Big Show:
We're at two hours and counting before our Jaguars take the field on this exciting Wild Card Weekend.  Your humble narrator is quite simply unable to handle the pressure and anticipation, having already procured artificial stimulation in the form of Red Bull and Yuengling to get me through the wait.  And I'll be frank, the Redskins and Seahawks game is just not keeping me interested.

But worry not Jaguars fans, we'll get through this long period of waiting.  Just like I'm sure the veterans are telling the young players in the locker room as we speak, we need to remember to keep our focus, maintain perspective, and cheer like hell.

Keep It Simple, Stupid:
I don't like complicated things.  It's not that my mind can't handle it, it's that with every additional level of complexity the likelihood of something going horribly awry increases.  Call it an unhealthy addiction to Occam's Razor.  In regards to football, I'm adverse to complicated game plans and plays.  I sweat every time I see a reverse, and I freak out when teams over think football basics.  Today's game is absolutely simple: run the ball.  

But Chris, what happens if we can't get a running game going?  Simple, we lose.
Of course, I'm all for being proved wrong and having the Jaguars march on into the next round of the playoffs after a David Garrard evisceration of the Steelers through the air.  But I'm digressing from my point.  

The game today is simple for the Jaguars, not in execution but in philosophy. Play Jaguars football.  That's all we have to do.  No need to over think, no need to change the playcalling.  If you'd go for it on 4th down in the regular season, you go for it on 4th down in the playoffs.  Jacksonville scored 14 points off of two 4th down conversions against the Steelers during week 15, we'll need that moxie.

Burning Questions:

  1. Can the Steelers stop the Jaguars Offense?  This is the big one, if the Steelers can't stop the run this will be a boring game.  Football Outsiders tells  us that the Jaguars are 6th in the league in runs  to the left side, and the Steelers are nearly last in stopping runs with their injury situation.  I don't expect that the Jaguars will have QUITE the day tonight that they did a few weeks ago, but if we get more than say 140 on the ground, we'll win.
  2. Is David Garrard ready to be a Playoff Caliber Quarterback?  David's never played in a Playoff game.  Ever.  He's been a cool operator all season long, but this is the biggest stage he's ever been on.  The pressure is greater, the New York Times is writing about him, and he's got to step up.  His fantastic season is nullified if he breaks under the lights.  David will have to show the poise and leadership he's demonstrated all season long, especially if the Jaguars get behind.  Fred might be the emotional leader of the team, but David will have to make the plays.  David, I know that you're reading this right now, we're rooting for you big time, but I need a personal favor.  Please don't throw any interceptions.  Thanks!

Don't forget to stop by Behind the Steel Curtain for your "SteelerCentric" perspective.  They're good people over there, even if they root for the wrong team.

As usual, the World Famous Live Blog happens in about an hour.  I'd like to give a quick "Shout Out" to Cover it Live for their kick ass live blogging software.  It's made doing the live action a whole lot of fun.

I'll be back in an hour!