Our weekly series history recaps continue this week with a familiar foe: The Pittsburgh Steelers. The Jacksonville Jaguars take a 2-2 record to Pittsburgh to take on a former AFC Central divisional rival.
The Jaguars are a pretty big underdog this week, and for good reason, after that embarrassment of a football game in Week 4 against a talent-starved New York Jets team, but I digress. The Steelers enter the game with a 3-1 record, and play well at home.
So, all signs point to a Jaguars win, right? An odd-numbered week, against a team who is expected to beat them soundly and a team Jacksonville has fared pretty well historically against? These Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Jaguars are going to be ready to perform.
Speaking of history, I’ll stop babbling and get to the point of this article.
All-time regular season series record: Tied 11-11
Postseason record: Jaguars lead 1-0 (2007-2008 season)
Last Jaguars win: Jan 5, 2008 (playoff game, 31-29)
Last Steelers win: Oct. 5, 2014 (17-9)
Current Streak: Steelers have won three straight games
Biggest Jaguars win: 24-9 (Sept. 1, 1996)
Biggest Steelers win: 28-3 (Nov. 17, 1996)
Interesting takeaway: Each of the last nine games have been decided by nine points or less, with seven of the nine contests decided by seven points or less. Three of the last four games were won by five points or less.
Quick thoughts: This has been an ultra-competitive series. Each team has the same number of regular season wins, each of the games since 2002 were decided by less than 10 points and the one playoff game in series history had a photo finish with a Josh Scobee game-winning kick, though the Jaguars had a big lead (I remember that game as if it were yesterday). These teams are no longer divisional rivals, but know each other quite well.
Date: Oct. 5, 2014
Location: EverBank Field
Team Stats: Jacksonville — 191 passing yards, 56 rushing yards, 12 first downs
Pittsburgh — 273 passing yards, 111 rushing yards, 20 first downs
Quick recap: The Steelers significantly out-gained the Jaguars and controlled time of possession. The Jaguars were able to keep it close, though, holding the Steelers to just one touchdown offensively. However, a prototypical Blake Bortles pick-six sealed Jacksonville’s fate in this one, as Brice McCain took it 22 yards to the house. The Jaguars weren’t able to find any offensive footing, with Bortles throwing two interceptions and the team only scoring three field goals.
Date: Oct. 16, 2011
Location: Heinz Field
Team Stats: Jacksonville — 109 passing yards, 133 rushing yards, 16 first downs
Pittsburgh — 200 passing yards, 185 rushing yards, 15 first downs
Quick recap: Blaine Gabbert, ladies and gentlemen. He put in a not-so-solid effort with a 46 percent completion rate and a mere 109 passing yards. The offense didn’t turn the ball over, though, and scored 13 unanswered points after the Steelers took a 17-0 lead. The Jacksonville defense held Ben Roethlisberger and company to zero points after the 10:58 mark of the second quarter. However, none of this was enough, as the Steelers held on for the win.
Through the Decades
1990s: Jaguars 6-4
2000-2010: Jaguars 6-5 (one playoff win for the Jaguars)
2011-Present: Steelers 2-0
Quick thoughts: Though highly-contested, the Jaguars actually won the majority of contests in both the 1990s and 2000s, with a playoff win giving the Jaguars the one-game edge from 2000 to 2010. The Steelers haven’t lost to the Jaguars since that playoff game, however, winning the last three contests and both matchups after the 2010 season. Those three games were decided by a combined 17 points. To begin divisional play, Pittsburgh and Jacksonville split every single season series from 1995 through 1998 before the eventual 14-2 Jaguars swept the Steelers in 1999.
On paper, the Steelers have no reason to lose this weekend’s game: heavy favorite, playing at home (where the team plays much better), Jacksonville is coming off of a loss to a weaker opponent, the Jaguars play poorly on the road, etc. But as I noted earlier, that all works in the Jaguars’ favor, because that is what this team seems to do — play down to lower competition and play up to good competition. Still, the Steelers have a lot of fire power to contain. It should be an interesting game.
Let us know what you think happens on Sunday in the poll below.
Will the Jaguars beat the Steelers?
This poll is closed
No, but it will be closer than people think