Ranking the 5 most important games of the Steelers 2023 schedule
By Zach Hiney
4. Steelers vs Jacksonville Jaguars, Week 8
Next up is a big home clash against an up and coming AFC foe: the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Similar to the Seahawks, the Jaguars surprised fans and analysts alike when they went 9-8 last season, won the AFC South, and beat the Chargers in the Wild Card round. Their second-year quarterback Trevor Lawrence took a big step forward in 2022, increasing his yards, touchdowns, completion percentage, QBR, and QB rating while decreasing his interceptions.
The additions of head coach Doug Pederson and wide receiver Christian Kirk helped elevate Lawrence to a top-ten finish in the MVP race. He will also be getting former Falcons receiver Calvin Ridley back from his year-long gambling suspension.
The Jaguars' defense is a work in progress but features some fun young players like Josh Allen, Travon Walker and Tyson Campbell. That defense is a unit that the Steelers offense will look to exploit when the Jaguars visit Acrisure Stadium on October 29th.
This game will be a good litmus test for the Steelers. The Jaguars took a step last year and look poised to join the elites of the AFC. If the Steelers can defeat the Jags, they could send a statement to the rest of the AFC that they're ready to compete. Also, it will be the first of potentially many matchups between Kenny Pickett and Trevor Lawrence, with Pickett hoping to take a similar leap in his second year.
This will be Jacksonville's first visit to Acrisure Stadium since their 45-42 victory in the 2018 AFC Divisional Round. Both teams have changed immensely since then, but with talented skill-position players on both sides, there could be fireworks once again.