Wild Card Preview: Jacksonville at Pittsburgh

Big Ben ready to go vs the Jags

Saturday night two heavyweights will go at it once again, as the Jacksonville Jaguars travel to Pittsburgh to take on the beat up Steelers at 8pm.  The Jaguars come in on top of the world, already having beaten the Steelers once, in Pittsburgh, and seem to have the confidence factor going as well as they look to move on to play the Patriots next Saturday.  As for the Steelers, after starting the season red-hot, and being proclaimed as the third-best team in the AFC most of the season, they have fallen on hard times.  They have lost three of four, and come into Saturday night with a ton of injuries and bumps and bruises.

The black and gold will try and combat the Jags with a beat up offensive line, no Willie Paker, and injuires to star players Ben Roethlisberger, Hines Ward and Troy Polamalu.  With everything against them and everything going for the Jags, the oddsmakers have put the Steelers, despite them being 7-1 at home this season, as underdogs in the Saturday night contest.  Let’s face it, the Jags are like the Steelers from the South.  They run the ball as well as anyone, play hard-nosed defense, and can take a punch and keep on comin.

So do the Steelers have a shot?  Of course they do, but they have to get back to playing the type of ball that made them feared earlier in the season.  They have to force the Jags into short possessions on offense, attack them with the run and passing game, and make sure to wrap up backs Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew.  The Steelers poor tackling has been a big reason why they have dropped the last three of four.

For the Jags, they have to stick to the basics.  Come into Pittsburgh and run the ball, play mistake-free on offense when it comes to throwing the ball downfield, and stay away from penalties.  They also can do what they did the last time the teams played – let loose and attack Ben Roethlisberger.  The last time they played they sacked him five times and held the Steelers to 217 yards.

Look for the Steelers to open it up and let it all hang out.  If they can’t run early, they will go to the pass, and not say their sorry for it.  The Jags have to be ready for a team that is going to play upset, peeved, and a team that flat out feels it should be getting more respect.  So how does it end?  Roethlisberger and company will make enough plays to stop the Jags from moving on.


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