During the 4th quarter in Heinz Stadium, chants of, DUUUUVAAAAL could be heard unabated in the AFC Divisional playoff game. While the score seems as if it was a close contest, not even Pittsburgh Steelers fans believed it as the camera showed large sections of empty yellow seats.
From their touchdown drive on their first possession to a game-sealing field goal kick by kicker Josh Lambo, the Jacksonville Jaguars shocked Steelers Nation. The Jags weren’t pretty and once again, lost most stats like first downs 22-28, yards 378-544, yards per play 6.2-7.0 and total plays, 61-78.
Jacksonville did win the stats that matter: third downs 8-14-57% 7-16-44%, 4th down 100% and 5 compared to 3 red zone trips with scores.
The Jacksonville Jaguars, a hard-luck team for a decade, are readying for round two in Pittsburgh. On their last outing, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger turned the ball over five times. The final score was 30-9. Can they do it, again? Be the upset winner in these playoffs?
Steelers fans will be quick to point out that the interceptions were flukes, and despite the Jags getting the ball back so many times, they didn’t put up many points. They’ll say the game was close until the second half. Finally, they’ll say that minus an 80 yard bust out touchdown, running backLeonard Fournette was kept under 100 yards.
These two teams haven’t been to a playoff game in so long, kids have been born and are in high school. For a Jags home playoff game? They graduated. Two teams new to the playoff with quarterbacks who also haven’t been in one. It’s going to be either a mess or a sign of good times ahead for the under 30 guys.
Head coach Doug Marrone is coaching his old team. That should make a difference, but teams change a lot in a couple years. What will definitely have an effect, is the fact that running back LeSean McCoy is far from 100%. That hurts not only their run game but their passing ability. He’s their second-leading pass catcher. They’re losing a day of practice and the Jags don’t have to change a thing.
I’m sure the Bills Mafia will be out in full force based on how quickly the seats sold out. They are ending their own playoff drought and are overwhelmingly and understandably excited about this game. However, Jacksonville is pretty stoked as well. It’s going to be a loud game. Believe it or not, Jaguar fans have caused delay of game calls due to the noise. Two of my sons will be there, as long-suffering fans who’ve been to a lot losing games, they’re beyond excited. And they’re raucous like their mama!
The Jacksonville Jaguars have locked in their spot in the playoffs, so there will be no change if they win or lose. However, head coach Doug Marrone has said they’ll play to win and will start the ones. Some may think this is foolish, but this tough guy mentality is exactly why they’re the #3 seed.
Tennessee, on the other hand, must win or have both the Chargers and Bills lose. Based on this, they will be going full bore. If the Jaguars do indeed show up to play, it might not be enough. It’s in Jacksonville’s best interest to lose because the Titans would travel to Jacksonville and they’d be the easiest of the three teams they could face.
Tennessee Titans quarterbackMarcus Mariota has been all over the place this season due to injuries. He beat Jacksonville week two because Jaguars QB Blake Bortles turned the ball over five times and the defense looked as if they just gave up. Up until he did that though, Jacksonville defense looked good. Plus, defensive tackle Marcell Dareus hadn’t been signed yet.
With Mariota far from being at the top of his game, Tennessee has one weapon and that’s their run game. While Jacksonville is 21st in stopping run yards, they’re tied for 8th in allowing rushing TDs at 9.
Tennessee, on the other hand, is tops at stopping the run and not allowing TDs. Running back Leonard Fournette will have his work cut out for him. Luckily for Jacksonville, the Titans are ranked 25th at stopping the pass, so if the run isn’t successful, the pass is there.
Bortles has 18 TDs and no interceptions in the red zone. Last season, Mariota was a leader in this category, but no more and that’s where Bortles can really hurt the Titans.
For the Titans, they’re facing the number one pass defense in the league whereas Mariota is ranked 21st, so this is not a good match-up for them. Combine that with Jacksonville leading the league with 52 sacks and Tennessee allowing 32, that’s another bad matchup.
Even though Jacksonville has had a series of injuries on their offensive line, Bortles is among the least sacked at 22. The Titans, however, are 5th in sacking the QB. Tackle Cam Robinson is listed as questionable. It will be tough to see Marrone starting him with the playoffs next week, so that’s where the Titans could attack.
The key for the Titans is to run the ball and keep Bortles from scrambling. He’s a bigger guy than people think and doesn’t go down easy. This has allowed him from being sacked often even with a hurt offensive line
The key for Jacksonville is to stop the run and get in Mariota’s face. He’s playing scared because of the injuries and will want to dump the ball quickly. This has lead to a season of interceptions.
While it would benefit the Jaguars to lose, I can only see this happening if Marrone plays the second string. Jacksonville is a better team on every level and will want to beat their division rival.
by Wanda Wiedman & Cleveland Kate // @WandaW63 & @ClvlndK8
While the NFL shook up the world with its #TakeAKnee, we have survived week 3 with quite a few upsets but managed to stay true to our picks.
Last week Kate suggested that sitting the Pittsburgh Steelers defense against the Chicago Bears offense would be ideal and boy, was she right! But if you took heed to our suggestions when we said to start Chris Thompson and sit Jeremy Maclin.…you’re welcome.
So let’s get started with this week’s fantasy Starts!