Pittsburgh’s defense is playing in honor of Ryan Shazier, and that should terrify Blake Bortles.
It’s more than just a playoff game for the Pittsburgh Steelers, whose season’s mission has shifted since the injury to linebacker Ryan Shazier. With a new fury of motivation, the Jacksonville Jaguars should expect to face an energized Steelers team in the AFC Divisional Round on Sunday at 1:05 p.m. ET on CBS (live streams at CBS All-Access, Yahoo! Sports, and FuboTV).
Jacksonville’s defense has been the leading force behind the surprising postseason run for a franchise that hasn’t seen the playoffs in a decade. The formidable defense will go against one of its biggest challenges on Sunday, as the combination of Steelers’ offensive weapons is nearly second to none in the league. Aside from veteran (and Super Bowl winner) Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh’s offense includes some of the top talent in the league, like Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell.
While the Jaguars’ defense should be up for the challenge, the real struggle for the Florida team will be how it performs on offense. Under the direction of QB Blake Bortles, the passing game has been subpar and the rush, though helped with rookie Leonard Fournette, hasn’t been able to break out big plays. The team has been able to rely on its defense and special teams to keep it in contests, but against a Steelers defense playing in honor of Shazier, the Jacksonville offense is facing an uphill battle.
As if the Steelers didn’t have enough motivation heading into the weekend’s game, Pittsburgh hasn’t lost a home Divisional Round game during the Roethlisberger era, a streak it’ll look to continue ahead of the AFC Championship.
Time, TV channel, and streaming info
- Time: 1:05 p.m. ET
- Location: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Pa.
- TV: CBS
- Streaming: CBS All-Access | Yahoo! Sports | FuboTV
- Odds: The Steelers are 6.5-point favorites.
Online: Click Here To Watch Live in HD….
You can watch the live stream on the NFL’s mobile app or CBS all-access app. If the NFL Network is part of your cable package, you can also watch live stream the game through the NFL app on XBox, Apple TV, or Roku device on your TV.
Jaguars vs. Steelers news:
- Ryan Shazier’s injury affected the entire team — and a lot of players throughout the league — and teammate Mike Mitchell is prepared to do anything he can to ensure a win on Sunday.
- The Jaguars will need their entire offense to step up if they hope to pull off an upset on the road.
- There’s still a chance Roethlisberger calls it a career following the team’s postseason run, but he gave Steelers fans some hope that he’ll be around a little while longer.
- Jacksonville can’t rely solely on its defense against the Steelers, but the Jags have a lot of issues to address on offense:
In fact, the last two weeks have been the Jaguars lowest offensive outputs the entire season. That’s not really how you want to be rolling into the second round of the playoffs, but here we are. It’s a hard issue to pin down, because it’s not entirely on one specific thing causing the issues.
- When these teams met in Week 5, the Steelers were embarrassed in a 30-9 loss:
It was a game in which the Steelers’ offense appeared to play directly to the strength of the Jaguars’ defense, while Roethlisberger had one of his worst performances as a pro, with five interceptions, two of which were pick-sixes. At the same time, the black-and-gold defense allowed Jags’ running back Leonard Fournette to break loose for 181 yards, with about half of those yards coming on a 90-yard, game-clinching TD run late in the fourth quarter.
Jaguars vs. Steelers predictions:
Pittsburgh players have more than just winning on their mind, and with each snap dedicated to their brother Shazier, you can expect the Steelers’ defense to make things very difficult for Blake Bortles and Co. — Pittsburgh advances to the AFC Championship. Seven of the eight experts from SB Nation expect the Steelers to make it to the AFC Championship, with only Adam Stites calling for a Jacksonville win.
Check out our Divisional Round picks for even more expert opinions.