The Pittsburgh Steelers are heavily favorited by experts to come up with a road win against the Jacksonville Jaguars this week.
With the exception of their Week 8 matchup against the Baltimore Ravens, the Steelers have been favored by the majority of NFL experts in every game they have played this season. This week’s matchup against the Jaguars should be no different. Though Pittsburgh has struggled against Jacksonville in the past, this isn’t the same talented Jaguars team that beat the Steelers in both the regular season and the playoffs in 2017.
Rather, the Jaguars – who have been led by quarterback Jake Luton over the past two weeks – sit on a 1-8 record to begin the season (second-worst in the National Football League). When it came time for NFL experts to choose a winner this week, they wasted no time in casting their vote for the Pittsburgh Steelers; however, it wasn’t quite a unanimous decision. According to NFL Pickwatch, 99 percent of experts have chosen the Steelers to take care of business this Sunday.
Why Steelers are so highly favored
Of course, there’s always got to be that guy who goes against the grain, but a 99 percent approval rating is more than satisfactory. If things go according to how the experts have predicted for the Steelers so far this season, Pittsburgh should have no problem taking care of an inferior opponent this week.
Ben Roethlisberger is coming off back-to-back games with over 300 passing yards and he has earned an impressive 7 touchdowns and 0 interceptions over his last two contests. Jacksonville’s defense ranks 31st in the league in both yards allowed (415.6) and points allowed (30.1) per game, according to Team Rankings. Ironically, 30.1 is the exact amount of points the Steelers score per contest, and doing so on one of the league’s defenses shouldn’t be a problem in Week 11.
Pittsburgh also boasts a defense that is significantly more talented on paper than what the Jags have to offer. Led by Defensive Player of the Year candidate, T.J. Watt, Pittsburgh has allowed just 19.0 points per game to opposing teams this year (3rd in the league) and they give up nearly 100 yards less per game than Jacksonville has allowed in 2020.
One curveball that could throw the Steelers through a loop would be if Gardner Minshew returns to the field this week. Minshew has been nursing an injury to his throwing thumb that has caused him to miss the last two contests. Prior to that, Minshew has thrown for a respectable 13 touchdowns and 5 interceptions in 7 games this season, and he is clearly the better option over Jake Luton – assuming he is available to play.
At the end of the day, I think most fans and analysts assume that Pittsburgh will come away with their 10th straight win to begin the 2020 season. This has already been the best start in Steelers history and a favorable game against a bad Jaguars team should be enough to keep that streak going for now.