Where: Jacksonville Muncipal Stadium, Jacksonville, FL
When/TV: 8:15 PM NBC "Sunday Night Football"
Forecast: 75 degrees at kickoff, 10-15 mph winds
The Jaguars and the Steelers go back a long way. I remember watching in the stands got their first home win, beating a Steelers team who would eventually go on to play in Super Bowl XXX(I promised myself I wouldn't make a lame porn joke here.) I was there when the Jaguars beat the Steelers 21-9 to start off the magical 1996 season. My parents let me skip school the following Tuesday so I could go to our first Monday Night game, also against the Steelers. Now, just as the Jags made their Monday Night debut against the Steelers, we have our first appearance on NBC's "Sunday Night Football" against the Steelers.
Things to Watch For: Jacksonville Jaguars
1. Defense: For those counting at home, the unit has blown 4 4th quarter leads and allowed teams to march right down the field to score a TD. With the returns of Rashean Mathis and Justin Durant, hopefully we will begin to regain form.
2. David Garrard: The Jaguars haven't had a QB this good since pre-ACL tear Mark Brunell. He put the team on his back the last few weeks and is the reason we're 2-2 and not 0-4.
3. Running Game: With the exception of Indianapolis, we haven't seen anything. Pittsburgh was the first team to really stop the Jags running game, will we finally break the hex against them?
4. Pass Rush: The Steelers ran next to last in the league in sacks per pass play. Will this be Groves' and Harvey's coming out party?
5. Josh Scobee: 2 game winning kicks in back to back weeks, have to give the kicker some love.
Things to Watch For: Pittsburgh Steelers
1. Running Game, or lack their of: Well so much for my thought that Rashard Mendenhall would be the steal of the draft. He's gone for the year and Willie Parker is also out. The Steelers will be relying on a 3rd down back as their starter, aka Roethlisberger will be slinging it alot.
2. Roethlisberger: It still baffles my mind sometimes that if we hadn't drafted Leftwich he could easily be our starter right now. That said he's playing for the other team and has no offensive line to speak of. Because of the running game issues, he might well be going back to pass 50 times Sunday Night.
3. 3-4 defense: The Jags will try to establish the run Sunday Night. 3-4's have a weakness against physical teams as they don't have as much "Beef" up front. Can the Jags force the issue?
4. Heath Miller: With Big Ben going to pass alot, and Owen Daniels being open so much last week, I'm sure Miller will be a favorite target. If he gets the ball alot and moves the chains, the Steelers will have a shot.
5. Santonio Holmes: A demon of a big play threat. The Jags secondary hasn't been the best at covering for that. We have Peyton Manning's happy feet and bum knee to thank for several overthrows against Indy. If we don;t get to Big Ben, I can see Holmes making us pay.
Player on the hot seat:
Derrick Harvey: We've moaning that our rookie DE has yet to show he was worth the contract we paid him. This is a big game for him. A sack or two and some other big plays is what is needed out of him Sunday Night.
Jaguars 24 Steelers 13