Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

AFC Divisional Round Match Up: Jaguars at Steelers

An AFC rematch opens up our Sunday of Divisional Playoff pairings when the Jacksonville Jaguars (11-6) return to the scene of their best performance of the season when they face off against the AFC North Champion Pittsburgh Steelers (13-3) at Heinz Field.

CBS and it’s affiliate stations will beam this into your home, mobile device or sports bar at 1:05 p.m. EST.

The Game: Jacksonville Jaguars at Pittsburgh Steelers (-7)

O/U: 41.0

The History

The Jaguars and Steelers have faced off 24 times since 1995 with Jacksonville actually leading the all-time series 13-11, believe it or not.

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (11-6)

I’ve carved out my own little niche when it comes to covering sports, especially the NFL in general. It keeps me employed and keeps my job fun, entertaining and, sometimes hopefully funny. That’s why I was so damn jealous last week when Nick Greene (no relation) at Slate penned this absolute masterpiece, “The 10 Best Punts of the Bills-Jaguaes Game.”

I mean, how did I not think of that? I’ve made it my job over the last 20 years or so to come up with shit exactly like that. It’s a work of genius and one I will personally hold against Nick Greene until the sun burns out. Damn you, sir.

Let’s talk about that Bills-Jaguars game a minute without focusing on the aforementioned punting display. It was abhorrent. One great defense, one good defense and two horrible offenses squared off and we are all poorer for it. Jaguars quarterback, Blake Bortles, has never been accused of being fleet of foot, but he led all rushers in this game with 88 yards on the ground. More than that, he actually rushed for more yards than he passed for, 87. There was some kind of record involved in that, in the playoffs, but I’m not looking it up. Screw that record and screw Blake Bortles for making it matter.

Jacksonville’s defense held LeSean McCoy with a banged up wheel to 75 yards on 19 carries. They also knocked Tyrod Taylor out of the game in the final minutes. Taylor was, as predicted, was completely awful. He finished 17-of-37 for 134 yards, an interception and was sacked twice.

With Taylor swooning on the sidelines, the stage was set for rookie Nathan Peterman to change his destiny. Earlier in the season, Peterman got the first start of his NFL career and tossed five interceptions in about 20 minutes of gametime. This would be his chance at redemption.

Here’s how the magic went down.

Peterman comes in facing a fourth and three at the Buffalo 48 yard line. He’s in the shotgun and takes the snap. Peterman sees a running lane and scrambles for the first down, only to fumble the ball. Luckily for the Bills, it rolled out of bounds. The legend continues.

On his next snap, Peterman (again in shotgun), fires a pass, this time to wide receiver Deonte Thompson for a 14-yard gain. Thompson trots out of bounds and with :48 seconds to go, Buffalo has the ball on the Jags’ 38-yard line. Oh yeah. The Hollywood script was writing itself.

But then, disaster struck. Peterman, under pressure, fires a pass off to absolutely no one. He’s called for intentional grounding, loses 10 yards and the down. It’s now second and 20, but as we saw Monday night the NCAA National Championship game, sometimes there’s one more obstacle to overcome before the hero rises.

Peterman knows this. He takes the snap with 32 seconds to go, visualizes what’s going to happen in his head and tosses a lazy pass to the right that’s immediately picked off by Jaguars’ Pro Bowl cornerback Jalen Ramsey. Game over.

Yep. Peterman’s still got it.

So the Jaguars won and will make a return trip to Pittsburgh, home of their proudest recent moment as a franchise. They’re healthy and everybody practiced this week.

PITTSBURGH STEELERS (13-3)

The Steelers only have one worrisome member of their injury report, but it’s a big one. Wide receiver Antonio Brown was held out of Friday’s practice with an illness. Brown has been nursing a calf injury over the last half month of the season and hasn’t played in three weeks. The illness is unreleated and while he’s officially listed as “questionable,” the dude is going to play. He’ll just be taking IVs before the game and at halftime.

Pittsburgh rested its starters in its final game, not giving a single shit that they were playing a Cleveland Browns team desperate to not go 0-16. The Steelers were still in the mix for home field advantage with the New England Patriots facing off against the New York Jets. The Steelers showed exactly how much respect they had for both the Browns and the Jets by suiting up their JV squad. They still won, 28-24.

Fun Fact

The two teams have met just once in the playoffs with the Jaguars beating the Steelers 31-29 at Heinz Field on Jan. 5, 2008. Ben Roethlisberger threw for 337 yards, two touchdowns and three  picks in a loss to the David Garrard-led Jags. Garrard was 9-of-21 for 140 yards, one touchdown and two picks. Garrared led the Jags with 58 yards rushing.

The Pick

All week long all you’ve heard about is how the Jaguars defense dominated the Steelers back in October and how Pittsburgh has to be wary of that happening again. Don’t believe it. The job of a lot of these NFL writers and talking heads, especially those connected to the league, is to help hype this game up. They want to make sure there’s no way you’ll want to miss it. I, on the other hand, believe that since it’s an NFL playoff game, that’s all the hype you need. I don’t care what the score was back before Halloween. This Steelers team has dropped one game by three points since that loss and even that was a Roethlisberger screw up. Pittsburgh plays down to its opponents, but after a three-touchdown defeat at the hands of Jacksonville two months ago, there’s no reason to throttle back. This will not be close. Steelers 38, Jaguars 13

Last week

Straight up: 2-2

Against the spread: 2-2

Playoffs

Straight up: 2-2

Against the spread: 2-2

Season

Straight up: 159-101

Against the spread: 122-132

To make a wager on any sport, go to the world famous Diamond Sportsbook by clicking here.

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Jaguars at Steelers
Author Rating
51star1star1star1star1star

About Adam Greene

Adam Greene is a writer and photographer based out of East Tennessee. His work has appeared in USA Today, the Associated Press, the Chicago Cubs Vineline Magazine, AskMen.com and many other publications.

About Adam Greene

Adam Greene is a writer and photographer based out of East Tennessee. His work has appeared in USA Today, the Associated Press, the Chicago Cubs Vineline Magazine, AskMen.com and many other publications.

Check Also

Best NFL Underdog Picks: Week 7 Betting Odds

Underdogs went 6-9 in Week 6 and flirted with finishing better than that. After starting …

Friday Afternoon Quarterback: NFL Week 7 Spread Picks and Locks

I had a good feeling about picking the Arizona Cardinals coming into Thursday night’s game. …

Leave a Reply

Send this to friend