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On Sunday, January 14th, the (10-6) Jacksonville Jaguars will be on the road to take on the (13-3) Pittsburgh Steelers in the second round of the 2017 NFL Playoffs.Overview:
“The Crowd” is projecting a final score of Steelers 25.5 – Jaguars 19.6 with an over/under of 45.2.
2017-18 Statistics (32 total teams):
Yards per game: Steelers 377.9 (3rd) > Jaguars 365.9 (6th)
Points per game: Jaguars 26.1 (5th) > Steelers 25.4 (8th)
Turnover margin: Jaguars +10 > Steelers +2
Fewest yards allowed per game: Jaguars 286.1 (2nd) > Steelers 306.9 (5th)
Fewest Points allowed per game: Jaguars 16.8 (2nd) > Steelers 19.2 (7th)
The Steelers, following their bye week, should be well rested for their game against Jacksonville. The Steelers were soundly beaten by the Jaguars 30-9 earlier this season in a game where Ben Roethlisberger threw five interceptions. The Steelers can’t possibly play any worse and finished the season winning ten of their last eleven games. Pittsburgh (+98) ranks 7th in the NFL in point differential. Jacksonville narrowly escaped with a 10-3 home victory over the Buffalo Bills in the first round of the playoffs. The Bills outgained the Jaguars 263-230 and won the possession battle. Blake Bortles was completely ineffective in the passing game going 12-23 for 87 yards and a touchdown. Bortles was a threat on the ground rushing for 88 yards on 10 carries. Leonard Fournette was bottled up for only 57 rushing yards on 21 carries (2.7 average). The Jaguars defense was phenomenal once again holding the Bills to three points and forcing two turnovers. Jacksonville fumbled the ball four times and somehow didn’t turn the ball over. The Jaguars (+149) rank 3rd in the NFL in point differential.
The Jaguars have an absolutely loaded defense but with Blake Bortles at quarterback it’s hard to see them advancing far in the playoffs. I expect Pittsburgh to make the necessary adjustments and not turn the ball excessively against the Jaguars this time around. The Steelers will give Le’Veon Bell a heavy workload and Roethlisberger won’t be chucking the ball 55 times again. The Steelers finished the season strong and will get their all-pro receiver Antonio Brown back from injury. If the Jaguars get down early I don’t see Bortles being able to make the plays through the air to get them back in the game. This should be a tough low-scoring game but I like the Steelers to cover the (-5.9) at home.
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