The Jacksonville Jaguars are looking for their fifth straight win as they travel up north to play the Pittsburgh Steelers this Sunday at 1 p.m. EST. With a win, the Jags will go into their bye week with a 6-2 record and as the hottest team in the NFL (insert multiple fire emojis).
Here’s how I believe the Jags keep the momentum going:
Tra (Von Miller) Walker having a day.
There’s a lot of talk about the Jags acquiring a pass rusher before the trade deadline on Tuesday. One way in which GM Trent Baalke can be convinced to save money is to see pressures and sacks coming from his 2022 first-overall pick Travon Walker. Josh Allen has seven sacks on the year and is playing his way into a long-term contract with the Jags, but for this team to take care of business on the road against a 4-2 Steelers team, they’ll need another defensive lineman to put pressure on Pittsburgh QB Kenny Pickett. The Steelers are ranked 31st in total offense and 26th in points scored per game at 17.2. On the flip side, Jacksonville is leading the league in turnovers with 17. The stats paint a beautiful picture of short fields for Trevor Lawrence, assuming Travon Walker and the Jags’ defense can cause chaos for Pickett.
TJ Watt is a game-wrecker. Double-team him. Chip him. Build a steel curtain. Whatever. Just limit his ability to get to Jax Jesus. One of the more impressive things about the Jags’ offense through seven games is Trevor’s ability to get the ball out quickly. Our QB is at the top of the league when it comes to release time, and I expect the offensive game plan to involve lots of short to intermediate-timing routes, wide receiver screens, and figuring out ways to get the touchdown machine that is Travis Etienne the ball both in the running and passing game. With that said, I’m also not opposed to secretly layering molasses over Watt’s cleats prior to the game. #DontThinkThePatsWouldntDoIt
Channel Avril Lavigne.
I also don’t know why I’m making an early-2000s pop music reference in an article about a pro football team. But I think what I’m getting to is the Jags shouldn’t make things so complicated.
For example, when it’s 4th down-and-a-foot, use your 6’6” quarterback to sneak it. His knee will be fine. He literally just needs to reach the ball over the line. Or, you know, don’t have one of your own guys run into Jamal Agnew when he’s about to catch a punt. This team believes in themselves, and that’s awesome – because it’s that culture that allows them to come back from these moments. They have a rising quarterback on the brink of being elite, a coach who knows what he’s doing, and a combination of talented veterans who lead by example and young playmakers coming into their own. They are gelling, and at the same time, I still don’t get the sense they know how good they are just yet.
What’s so cool about them not knowing how good they are is that, at 5-2 on the year, there is still a lot of room to grow. They know they can play with the Kansas City Chiefs, but what they haven’t realized is they can beat the Kansas City Chiefs. They know they can beat less-talented teams in the NFL, but what they haven’t realized is they can beat the extremely tight, sometimes ill-fitted pants off of less-talented teams in the NFL.
And yes, I used that Avril Lavigne reference for all it was worth and more. But, if this team just plays a clean game and executes (and doesn’t make things so complicated), I have a feeling this trip to Pittsburgh could be the start of them realizing how damn good they really are.
What other pop-rock references describe this team?