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Friday, October 03, 2014

Who I like Jacksonville version

I had to laugh this week every time I heard someone make their pick for the Steelers' game Sunday at Jacksonville.

Suddenly, the Jacksonville Jaguars were being compared to something that resembled a good NFL team. They're not. They're not even a bad NFL team.

No, Jacksonville is a horrid NFL team.

Through four weeks, Jacksonville is allowing the most points in the NFL, 38 per game. That's more than a touchdown greater than the next closest team,

And only Oakland at 12.8 points per game averages fewer than Jacksonville's 14.5.

Think about that. Jacksonville's average margin of defeat is just over three touchdowns per game.

It gets better. The Steelers are 17-2 since 2004 against rookie quarterbacks. The only two games in which they've lost in that stretch were a pair of games not started by Ben Roethlisberger.

That means Roethlisberger has never lost a game in which the other team has started a rookie quarterback.

But wait, it gets better still. Not only will Jacksonville be starting a rookie quarterback in Blake Bortles, it will be starting two rookie receivers as well. That's a whole lot of inexperience at the skill positions.

It wouldn't be such a problem if the Jaguars had a running game. But they don't have that, either. Free agent pickup Toby Gerhart is averaging 2.6 yards per carry with 114 yards on 44 attempts.

After being torched on the ground in their first two games, the Steelers have given up 105 total rushing yards in the past two games. So don't expect Bortles to get much help there.

Finally, I expect the stadium to be filled to the brim with Steelers fans on Sunday. And unlike the crowds at Heinz Field, about 1/3 of whom leave after the third quarter is completed, the ones who make the trip to Jacksonville to see the Steelers - the only time many of them get that opportunity - will stay until the finish.

The Steelers are 6-point favorites in this game, and I've heard numerous people in Pittsburgh say they not only expect Jacksonville to cover, they expect the Jaguars to win outright. That's coming from the people who have been too lazy to actually look at how bad the Jags have been.

Are the Steelers a great team right now? Nope. They've got issues as they sort things out after losing three defensive starters two weeks ago in a win at Carolina.

But the offense has the two leading yardage gainers in the AFC in running back Le'Veon Bell and wide receiver Antonio Brown. And that should be more than enough to win easily in front of a pro-Pittsburgh crowd.

Take the Steelers, 34-17


ibygeorge said...

Dale, please don't tell the Steelers how lousy the Jags are.

Anonymous said...

Against this defense, the rookie QB stat doesn't mean a whole lot. Past performance does not guarantee future success, and all that, especially when the actual players are mostly different. Wasn't TB winless in Pittsburgh until last week?

I agree the Steelers should easily win this one, though.

Anonymous said...

I just checked our average points per game scored and our offense is ranked 14th, which is about how I would rank our offense.

The defense is ranked 20th in ppg, which is about how I would rank them as well.

Anonymous Brian said...

Steelers - 29 Jaguars - 24

Dale Lolley said...

Offensive numbers skewed by Baltimore game. The Steelers can score. Jacksonville has given up 30 or more in all four games

Patrick said...

steelers should win this game, but I'm not confident enough to say its by by much more than 10

27-17 steelers with lots of running in the end, similar to Caroline game