It’s here. It’s finally here! The playoffs have arrived and the Steelers get the game they say they wanted. The Jacksonville Jaguars visit Pittsburgh for the second time this season after drubbing them 30-9 in the first go round.
It’s well documented how poorly Ben Roethlisberger played and his comments afterward. It’s also widely expected that a performance such as that won’t be repeated by him or anyone else on the roster. The team is on a mission to win Lombardi number seven and that quest begins on Sunday afternoon.
Here Are The Keys To Victory
- First and foremost, the Steelers need to make Blake Bortles beat them. The Jags have a legitimate rush attack, led by Leonard Fornette and their key to winning games is keeping the ball out of Bortles' hands. If the Steelers can get ahead and force the Jags to throw, Bortles is destined to mess up.
- The offensive line must keep Big Ben upright. The Jags amassed 55 sacks in the regular season, one short of the Steelers for the league lead. They have a pretty strong duo of sack masters with Calais Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue who totaled 26.5 sacks between them. They need to be kept away from Roethlisberger at all costs. If they get their pressure, he could be forced into some messy throws.
- The black and gold must stay disciplined. They cannot afford any of the boneheaded penalties of the 15 yard variety. This is playoff football now, no more egregious errors allowed.
- The offense should start with Le’Veon Bell. I think Bell can break this game open and can run on the Jags. If he’s able to do that, the field will open up for Ben and the receivers from there.
Here Are A Few Things To Watch
- Antonio Brown should be back and the question is how will he perform coming off his injury? I expect him to be just fine.
- This could be Big Ben’s last game at Heinz Field. Enjoy what he gives you, just in case.
- The Jags are a bit arrogant and were trash talking after the last game and are starting to bark leading into this one. How will that impact the way the game unfolds?
- Watch rookies JuJu Smith-Schuster and TJ Watt in their first playoff action ever. Will they rise to the necessary level of play to push the Steelers into the next round?
I expect this to be another hard fought, hard hitting, chippy game that the Steelers will have to win late. I think they are ready for this and I think Roethlisberger is going to show why he wanted the Jags again. In the end the Steelers will come out on top, 20-16 and head to New England the following week to take on the Patriots once more.