The Pittsburgh Steelers travel to Jacksonville to face a team they have historically struggled against. Here’s how they will do against the Jaguars.
The Steelers have been the most flawless team in all of football this year (as their record would speak to). After their 9-0 start, Pittsburgh has managed 30.1 points per game while holding their opponents to just 19.0 points per contest, according to Team Rankings (an astounding differential of +11.1). Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has played some of his best football in year 17, while T.J. Watt is a legitimate Defensive Player of the Year candidate in 2020.
This week, Pittsburgh is handed a seemingly meaningless task: To take down the 1-8 Jacksonville Jaguars. While the Steelers are heavy favorites, it’s important to note their recent history against the Jaguars.
In the Mike Tomlin era, the Steelers are just 4-4 against Jacksonville, and they have knocked Pittsburgh out of the playoffs in 2017. Ben Roethlisberger’s history against the Jaguars dates back even longer, but even he is just 5-5 all-time against Jacksonville. While these numbers do seem a bit concerning, this isn’t the same talented Jaguars team that Ben has struggled with in years past.
Steelers vs. Jaguars game prediction
There’s just something when it comes to uncommon, losing-record opponents that gives Steelers fans a bit of a sick feeling. In the past three years, Pittsburgh has dropped games to pathetic teams on the road including the Bears (2017), Raiders (2018), and Jets (2019). Though it seems as if Mike Tomlin has fixed his biggest issue, he’s also facing a team he has not fared well against.
While it’s entirely possible that Pittsburgh could get off to a slow start in Week 11, Jacksonville’s defense isn’t going to be able to hold this team under 26 points (that’s being generous). On the year, the Jags have allowed 30.1 points per contest (31st in the league in this department). Over the past two games, Roethlisberger has thrown for 639 yards with 7 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. Additionally, Jacksonville just put first-round cornerback, CJ Henderson, on injured reserve, so this won’t help their cause.
Defensively for the Steelers, Keith Butler’s unit has been arguably the best in the league, as they are 3rd in points allowed per game and 6th in yards allowed. However, they are also number one in both pressures and sacks per game. With quarterback Gardner Minshew very unlikely to play against this week, Pittsburgh will get Jake Luton who has played just two career starts and has looked very pedestrian in each.
As long as the Steelers show up to play, this game has a chance to be over by the end of the first quarter; however, we’ve seen this scenario too often in the past. I expect a game that’s a bit closer than it should be, but I have Pittsburgh running away with it in the end.
Score prediction: Steelers 28-17
The only thing that could get in the way of a 10-0 start is the team with the second-worst record in the NFL. While these games have been a coinflip in the past, there are zero reasons why the Steelers should lose this contest.