Last Updated: 2018-01-12
Perhaps the most difficult game to get a grasp on this weekend is Sunday’s early game between Jacksonville and Pittsburgh. The Steelers are favored by 7 and the total is 41.
After the Jaguars defeated Buffalo 10-3 last week, all we’ve been reading about is how poor Jacksonville is offensively and how they’ll be lucky to score against Pittsburgh. The numbers don’t really bear that out, as the Jags average 25.1 points per game to Pittsburgh’s 25.4 and gain 20 fewer yards per game. Sure, Bortles isn’t exactly Roethlisberger when it comes to throwing the ball, but he doesn’t need to be, as the Jaguars run the ball more often than they pass.
The Jags are pretty average when it comes to throwing, as yards per pass attempt is what they’re opponents allow, while their rushing game is better than average when compared to what their opponents allowed. Rushing the ball often kept the clock moving and was one reason the Jags are ranked near the top in the different defensive categories.
The Jags played just as good on the road as they did at home from a statistical standpoint and have a bit of confidence coming into this one after shutting down the Pittsburgh attack back in October.
The Steelers started a bit slow and picked it up a bit, but still were 7-9 ATS due to their tendency to win close games. Of their last five victories, but one was by more than four points, so the Steelers weren’t blowing people out all that often.
Pittsburgh is a little below average when it comes to running the football, gaining 3.8 yards per attempt against teams which allowed 4.0 yards per carry, but were solid in the passing game, gaining 7.4 per attempt against teams who allowed 6.5.
On defense, Pittsburgh wasn’t great at stopping the run, although Jacksonville’s 37 carries for 231 yards in the previous meeting makes their stats look a little bit worse. The Steelers allowed roughly the same yards per pass attempt as their opponents averaged.
The Steelers were just 5-10-1 in totals this year, although all five overs came at home, while the Jags were 4-5 on the road.
The weather in Pittsburgh is going to take a turn for the worse, as temps will be in the teens after being in the 50s on Friday. How that affects the warm-weather Jaguars remains to be seen, but will have to take the better defense team and the better rushing team here, so will take a stab on the Jags +7 in this one.
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