The Jacksonville Jaguars make their way back to EverBank Field on Sunday to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers, in a game that presents itself as what should be a good matchup. The Jaguars offense looked much more promising last Sunday, though they only scored 14 points, so going against a defense with an inferior pass rush should look for someone like Blake Bortles to continue success through the air.
So, how can the Jaguars win?
When the Jaguars are on offense
When the Jaguars have the football, realistically they should try to exploit the Steelers over the middle of the field. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers rallied back to beat the Steelers last week passing the football and exploiting Pittsburgh's banged up secondary. Even though the Jaguars have a young receiver group and have Marqise Lee and Cecil Shorts out, they should still have enough going for them to be effective through the air.
Against a much better Chargers pass defense, Blake Bortles threw for over 250 yards and score, which he should also be able to do against a Steelers secondary that is missing Ike Taylor. It's also a Steelers defense dealing with a lot of injuries at linebacker, as they're without Jarvis Jones and Ryan Shazier, bringing back old guard James Harrison. It's a linebacker group that the Jaguars should target on offense over the middle with Clay Harbor and Ace Sanders (if he's back).
The Steelers are also giving up 4.7 yards per carry on the ground and were gashed by the Cleveland Browns Week 1 and Baltimore Ravens in Week 1. Not that the Jaguars rushing attack is potent, but with Blake Bortles under center it's been much more effective.
When the Jaguars are on defense
Know where Antonio Brown is. The Jaguars defense did a solid job against the San Diego Chargers, even though the end-game stats look bad. In reality, over a third of the Chargers passing yards came on just four plays. They have blown some coverage assignments and such through the first four games, but the cannot afford to let Antonio Brown get loose down the field, because Ben Roethlisberger will find him and he will score.
The other big thing the Jaguars defense will need to do is wrap up Ben Roethlisberger. Sometimes it almost looks like Big Ben invites defenders to attempt to take him out with a highlight hit and just bounces off them and shrugs off arm tackles. The Jaguars defensive line will need to wrap up his upper body to bring him down when the get pressure, and they will because the Steelers offensive line isn't very good and Big Ben holds the football, almost inviting pressure at times.
Le'Veon Bell will be a big worry for some, but the Jaguars tackled much better last week against the Chargers and gave trouble to a better offensive line in the run game, so this should be a favorable matchup for the Jaguars defensive line. Should, being the operative word.