In a highly anticipated Week 8 AFC matchup, the Jacksonville Jaguars (5-2) will face the Pittsburgh Steelers (4-2) at Acrisure Stadium this Sunday. With a remarkable four-game winning streak, the Jaguars are determined to halt the Steelers' impressive start to the season. This game poses a significant test for the Steelers, as the red-hot Jaguars are eager to establish themselves as Super Bowl contenders.
It's a perfect opportunity for Pittsburgh to showcase its potential and compete with the best in the AFC. The Steelers' offense, led by Kenny Pickett, found its rhythm in the second half of last week's game against the Rams, scoring 21 points to secure a victory in Los Angeles. However, sustaining this level of performance for all four quarters is essential when facing a formidable team like the Jaguars.
Can the Steelers' second-half offensive performance persist against the Jaguars?
The Steelers can't rely on late-game heroics to win consistently, especially not against playoff-caliber teams like the Jaguars. This offense possesses the talent and potential to perform well throughout an entire game, and Sunday presents the chance for Kenny Pickett and company to prove it.
Anticipate a more pass-heavy approach from the Steelers, given the Jaguars' vulnerability to passing attacks. Matt Canada is likely to utilize Kenny Pickett's arm, targeting the talented duo of Diontae Johnson and George Pickens early and often. Nonetheless, the Steelers are traditionally known for their commitment to running the football and controlling time of possession, a strategy they're likely to try once again.
Following their successful ground game against the Rams, they may look to replicate that approach. Finding a balance between an effective passing game and controlling the time of possession could be a strategy that would be pivotal for Pittsburgh's success.
Can the Steelers' defense contain the potent Jaguars offense?
On the defensive front, the Steelers face a tough challenge. The Jaguars boast a potent offense led by star quarterback Trevor Lawrence, supported by running back Travis Etienne, and an array of dangerous pass catchers like Christian Kirk, Calvin Ridley, and tight end Evan Engram.
Containing this multifaceted offense requires the struggling Steelers secondary to step up. Here, once again, their pass rush needs to take on a pivotal role in disrupting Trevor Lawrence and causing turnovers. The reliance on a struggling secondary to make plays hasn't yielded results, particularly against pass-heavy teams.
It's unrealistic to expect these Steelers cornerbacks to consistently win their matchups, especially versus a talented Jaguars WR core. As always, the front seven must maintain their dominance. If they can't consistently apply pressure, it could make for a challenging afternoon.
Final thoughts and predictions
The Steelers' hope for victory lies in creating multiple turnovers and unsettling Trevor Lawrence. However, they must break free from their trend of relying solely on their defense to win games. If the Steelers' offense doesn't kick into gear and put together a complete game, it could result in another disappointing loss.
The outcome might be close, but the Jaguars are poised to make more crucial plays, securing the win. Nonetheless, fans are optimistic that this game could be a turning point for Kenny Pickett and the offense, unveiling the Steelers' full potential.