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http://hosted.stats.com/fb/preview.asp?g=20180114023&home=23&vis=30

 

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Jaguars don't have near the playoff experience as the Pittsburgh Steelers.

 

Jacksonville, though, has winning experience at Heinz Field.

 

The champions of the AFC South (Jaguars) and AFC North (Steelers) will meet Sunday in the divisional round with the winner advancing to the AFC Championship Game against Tennessee or New England on Jan. 21.

 

Jacksonville trounced Pittsburgh 30-9 on Oct. 8 at Heinz Field, forcing Steelers two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback Ben Roethlisberger into a career-worst five interceptions.

 

The Steelers (13-3) went on to win 10 of their last 11 games to secure the AFC's second seed and first-round bye.

 

"We've evolved since then," Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin said. "They have evolved a lot since then. (The first game) is a good physical reference in terms of the matchups. ... I am sure that they are as different as we are since the last time we've seen them."

 

The Jaguars are hoping that the evolution has been minimal, especially the passing game. Roethlisberger said last week he was hoping the Steelers would get to play the Jaguars.

 

Jacksonville All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey helped grant his wish with his interception in the final seconds to seal Jacksonville's 10-3 victory over Buffalo in the wild-card round Sunday at EverBank Field. The win was Jacksonville's first in the playoffs since the 2007 season, its last appearance.

 

The Jaguars (11-6) returned two Roethlisberger interceptions for touchdowns in the first meeting.

 

The 35-year-old Roethlisberger wondered "if he still has it" after the loss when meeting with reporters.

 

Ramsey said with the Bills game behind them, Big Ben's comments about wanting a rematch have their attention.

 

"I'm sure it will be brought up a couple times this week," Ramsey said. "I would want to play us again too. He threw five picks and was contemplating retirement saying whether he had it or not after playing us. They had a good season after our game. But, sometimes you have to be careful what you ask for. We'll see Big Ben and the Steelers on Sunday. We'll see what happens then."

 

Ramsey intercepted a pass in the Pittsburgh win and deflected four passes. One breakup resulted in strong safety Barry Church intercepting a pass and returning it 51 yards for a touchdown.

 

Roethlisberger was quick to praise the Jaguars' defense this week.

 

"This is one of the best defenses I've ever played against," Roethlisberger said.

 

The Steelers finished the season ranked third in the NFL in passing yardage, with the Jaguars first in pass defense.

 

"They play to our strengths," Ramsey said. "They think that passing is their strength. Defending the pass is our strength. Any team that tries to pass the ball on us 40 times hasn't had success on us and I don't think will have success on us. We have to grind this week though. They're a good team coming off the bye. We're going to have to have a great game plan and execute."

 

Ramsey will be in the headlining matchup Sunday as he goes up against Steelers All-Pro receiver Antonio Brown, who caught 10 passes for 157 yards on 19 targets in the first meeting.

 

Brown injured his calf on Dec. 17, but is expected to play Sunday. The eighth-year veteran led the NFL in receiving yards this season with 1,533 (89 more than No. 2 Julio Jones), despite missing the final two games of the season.

 

Pittsburgh will also try to lean more on All-Pro running back Le'Veon Bell, who was held to 93 total yards in the first meeting.

 

"He's not one-dimensional," Jaguars coach Doug Marrone said. "It's not like this guy is going to take the ball and run downhill and run you over every single time he takes it. He can do that. He can also get the ball outside. He has excellent patience. He has a really good understanding of the blocking scheme. He's a natural catcher."

 

The big question is how much will Pittsburgh really need to score? Jacksonville's offense has been sluggish lately, scoring 20 total points in its last two outings combined.

 

Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles wasn't effective in the first meeting. He completed 8-of-14 passes for 95 yards with no touchdowns and an interception for a 48.2 passer rating.

 

The Jaguars' top-ranked run offense had one of its best days of the season, generating 231 yards. Rookie running back Leonard Fournette carried 28 times for 181 yards and two touchdowns, including a game-clinching 90-yard score.

 

"Hopefully, we can throw less," Bortles said. "That would be awesome. Leonard goes off again and those guys up front play as well as they did last time, we can run the ball up there and not have to throw at all. It was something that happened last time, but you never know."

 

 

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Take the under on this one boys. This game will be hard to watch unless you really hate the Steelers.

 

:jags: 16

:Steelers: 10

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I'm a little concerned the Steelers will be looking ahead to the AFCCG against New England, but I'm much more concerned about Blake Bortles' ability to play quarterback. The Steelers win the turnover battle this time, and Ben Roethlisberger gets some redemption.

 

:Steelers: 23

:jags: 10

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I kind of want to see Blake Bortles win, just so there is a slim chance Blake Bortles can have more super bowl rings than Dan Marino.

 

:jags: 14

:Steelers: 9

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Jags (and Bortles) play better against good teams than bad ones.

 

I have nothing to really back this up, but I'm pretty sure it's right.

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Jags (and Bortles) play better against good teams than bad ones.

 

I have nothing to really back this up, but I'm pretty sure it's right.

You better hope the titans lose then.

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I'm prepared to be wrong somehow or another, but I think we win easily but not a blowout.

 

:Steelers: 23

 

:jags: 13

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It's been a good ride. I don't see us repeating week 5, Ben wont turn the ball over that much. Bortles isn't the best QB either, he wont get it done for us. Steelers win easy and get revenge: :Steelers: 27 :jags: 13

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Shutout in Pittsburgh. You heard it here first.

 

Jags smacked them around during the reg season, nothing will change now. Steeler players have talked a LOT of shit going into this one. Jags Defense is going to make a statement so that Bortles won't have to.

 

Matchup wise all over the Steelers are on the wrong side.

 

Fournette will feast, and the Jags front will make Hen's life living hell.

 

:jags: 21

 

:Steelers: 0

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I find this game stupidly worrisome for Pittsburgh, especially with middle-of-the-pack safety Mike Mitchell already talking about playing New England again. That dude isn't good enough to talk as much as he does, and it represents how much Tomlin enables his players to put their feet in their mouths. I guess when you're just a cheerleader, you cheer anything and everything.

Pittsburgh is absolutely looking past this game. Antonio Brown isn't fully healthy. Jacksonville is essentially the Minnesota of the AFC. I see at least 2 INTs for Ben, but how many for Bortles?

If Blake doesn't turn the ball over, Jacksonville will probably win.

 

:jags: 17

:Steelers: 13

Edited by BwareDWare94
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Antonio Brown's health is definitely a major factor. This should be a game where Bryant shows up. You know JuJu is ready to play but Bryant needs to stretch the field and make plays for the Steelers today.

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Take the under on this one boys. This game will be hard to watch unless you really hate the Steelers.

 

:jags: 16

:Steelers: 10

 

So uh.

 

About that.

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Had arguments over this in the shoutbox but I really believe the Steelers decision making threw this game big time. Both 4th and inches play calls were atrocious. You have Big Ben, 6'5 230 (more on him later) and you don't run a QB sneak for what would be a high percentage conversion rate? And then the onside kick call was also terrible. Kick it deep and keep the Jags out of FG range. The Jags were always going to run three times and the Steelers tightened up against the run in the second half. The Jags would have had 4 and 1 from their own 30 and the Steelers would have had 1:50 to tie it up. You can cry about the execution on these plays but all three were the wrong calls in my opinion and ended up losing the Steelers points/leading to the Jags scoring points.

 

The officiating in this game was also awful but at least it was equally bad both ways. That being said, I do appreciate that they were at least letting the boys play.

 

Lastly, that was one of, if not the best, performances I have seen from Big Ben. Every TD was a perfect dime (great catches too). His scramble backyard football plays were immense. The dude completely balled out and is a legend.

 

Good game though and both teams played really well. It's hard to imagine how good the Jags would be if they had better QB play.

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:phew:
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We needed the guy in my sig against NE in regular season and we needed him today.

 

Congrats, Jags fans. I'm rooting for you guys to do us all a favor next week. :yep:

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I disagree with you there Bjorn.

 

Onsides kick was the right call, IMO, Steelers D hadn't stopped them in awhile, and if it was just a normal onsides Jags would have had the ball at the 45 yard line. If Jags get close enough for a FG from there it wont matter because they could run out the clock anyway. Give yourself two chances to get the ball. What screwed them was the horrible execution on the onsides.

 

Coaching was awful on the Steelers last drive, should have kicked a FG and then gone for the onsides.

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Said it all season and Tomlin's frontrunner pussy team chest-pounded their way right out of the playoffs. So sad for Ben, he could've had as much success as Brady had he been in a better situation through his prime and waning years.

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Our defense was sad. Not even a debate on that point. lol

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I disagree with you there Bjorn.

 

Onsides kick was the right call, IMO, Steelers D hadn't stopped them in awhile, and if it was just a normal onsides Jags would have had the ball at the 45 yard line. If Jags get close enough for a FG from there it wont matter because they could run out the clock anyway. Give yourself two chances to get the ball. What screwed them was the horrible execution on the onsides.

 

Coaching was awful on the Steelers last drive, should have kicked a FG and then gone for the onsides.

Yeah, but the ankle injury slowed Fournette in the second and they weren't running that well anymore. Stats may prove me wrong but I really only think the Steelers were getting killed by play action and passes to running backs in the flat in the second half. They had two timeouts and the 2 minute warning (which they also mismanaged). Onside kicks are highly variable and we see them kicked short all of the time for a penalty. The execution was terrible, that's not even a debate but it happens all the time. And to my point, we also saw them stop the Jags from getting a first down. The Jags ran three times like they always were going to. So the only difference would have been field position.

 

Edit: I will say I like how aggressive the Steelers were on 4th down. That's how you have to be in my opinion and not many coaches are but you have to be smart about it too.

Edited by BJORN
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Down by 21 comeback isn't generally something that happens, lol. Trying to point at Ben when he is the only reason this team has had success in his HoF career.

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Sacksonville

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