The Steelers look to get to 4-2 Sunday when they play host to the Jaguars, a team that appears to be on life support for coach Jack Del Rio at 1-4. While it looks like an easy game on paper, don’t overlook the Jags so quickly. Below are the keys as well as prediction for Sunday’s game at Heinz Field.
1. Throw the Sink at Gabbert – Rookie QB Blaine Gabbert hasn’t had much success so far this year, as he’s only got a completion pct of 49.5, and he’s thrown just three touchdowns to two picks. The Steelers D, even somewhat short handed still, needs to do their usual good job of throwing different looks at the rookie and showing some blitzes he hasn’t seen this season. It would be surprising if the Steelers didn’t get 1-2 picks and a few sacks of Gabbert Sunday.
2. Keep Ben Clean – This is always a key in my opinion, but there’s a special meaning to it this week, as the Jaguars as a whole haven’t been getting to the QB all season, and let’s not let that start on Sunday. So far in five games, the Jags have just 8 sacks on the season, not exactly putting a ton of fear into opposing QB’s. Roethlisberger did a better job going with quicker looks Sunday vs the Titans, and it looks like as long as the O-line is banged up, that’s what he needs to keep doing to make sure he’s not getting crunched each week like against the Texans.
3. Keep Em Guessing in the Running Game – Mike Tomlin Tuesday didn’t commit to going back to Rahsard Mendenhall Sunday, and that’s just fine. The running game right now has not just one – but three weapons with Mendenhall, Jonathan Dwyer, and Issac Redmen. It would be nice to see the Steelers run game create a three-headed monster to giving guys the ball and keeping the other two fresh. Long gone are the days of a guy running the ball 20-25 times, and right now it may better the Steelers to give these three the ball 5-10 times each.
Prediction – Jacksonville won opening day over the Titans, and haven’t won since. They kept it close in two losses, and got blown out in two others, and this week feels like a blowout coming. The Steelers need to keep up the intensity from a week ago, and remain focused on the task at hand, and not get lazy in tackling and making sure to keep the heat on Gabbert and the Jags. It would be nice to see them get out of this game healthy, and for them to make sure Sunday they are at 4-2. Steelers 34 Jaguars 13