Welcome to the most comprehensive Pittsburgh Steelers Game Day Preview on the internet! This is your one stop shop for everything you need to know about the Steelers and their upcoming opponent! Mike Drakulich of Pittsburgh SportsNation brings you inside the huddle for both teams, providing all fans with a Game Preview, the Steeler’s Keys to Victory, Score Prediction, a detailed breakdown of each team, Fantasy Football Impact, Game Information, Individual Stats, Team Stats, and the latest Injury Report. Heck, you even get the weather at kickoff. The only thing you’re missing is a game uniform!
STEELERS LOOK TO ENACT A LITTLE REVENGE VS JAGUARS
Last season, the Jacksonville Jaguars (3-6) defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2-1) twice, the second of which sent the Steelers packing in the playoffs.
Despite Ben Roethlisberger throwing for 469-yards and five touchdowns, Jaguars corner Jaylen Ramsey was less than impressed.
“Derek Carr, I think he’s good. Eli [Manning]…It’s not really Eli. I think it’s Odell [Beckham, Jr.]. I won’t say Eli’s good, I’ll say Odell’s good,” said Ramsey. “And their connection is good. I think Russell [Wilson] is good. I think he’s just a really good leader too. Big Ben, I think he’s decent at best…It’s not Big Ben, it’s Antonio Brown. Big Ben slings the ball a lot of the time. He just slings it, and his receivers go get it. He has a strong arm, but he ain’t all that. I played him twice last year, and he really disappointed me. He’ll be in the Hall of Fame and all that…I think Matt Ryan’s overrated. You can’t tell me you win MVP two years ago, and then last year, you a complete bust, and you still got Julio Jones.”
Now Roethlisberger and the Steelers have a chance to return the favor to Jacksonville, as another loss by the Jaguars will pretty much send them into draft picks mode instead of planning for the playoffs. With no more questions being directed at Roethlisberger about the Le’Veon Bell saga, Big Ben’s mind was set on just one subject.
“That’s the No. 1 focus on my mind, preparing for Jacksonville,” Roethlisberger said. “They’re a great defense. It’s probably going to be the biggest test and challenge for us. So it’s a big one.”
Was Roethlisberger going to offer any pithy comebacks towards Ramsey?
“Nope,” Roethlisberger replied. “No need to.”
In those pair of losses to the Jaguars last year, Roethlisberger turned the ball over seven times, six of which lead to Jacksonville touchdowns.
“They made plays,” Roethlisberger said. “That’s why I give them a lot of credit. They’re a really good football team.”
Right now, Roethlisberger is playing some of the best football of his career. For the year, he has thrown for 2,888 yards passing with 21 touchdowns and just seven interceptions.
One worry the Steelers won’t have is the health of James Conner, who suffered a mild concussion last week vs Carolina.
“I feel like me again,” the Pittsburgh Steelers running back said. “Back to normal.”
With Bell out of the picture, the keys to the car are all Conner’s.
“Every week he’s gotten more and more confidence,” guard David DeCastro said. “We knew he had the capability, and we liked what he showed in the offseason. He came in in great shape. Training camp was great. He was picking up blitzes. He made that great leap from his first to his second year. He’s kept getting better every week. It’s a credit to him and being a professional. He’s picked it up really fast.”
Just to be up front here, Conner doesn’t believe he is in this position just because Bell tossed away 14.5 million dollars this season.
“I earn everything. I earn everything,” Conner said. “Nothing was given to me. I’m going to be doing the same thing I’ve been doing every week.”
During the win streak, Conner has rushed for 539 yards, gained 223 receiving yards and has scored eight touchdowns.
The Pittsburgh’s offensive line has been a big believer in Conner’s abilities from the start.
“We called it,” guard Ramon Foster said. “The dude busts his butt. Him being injured last year and not being able to finish out his rookie season kind of added a little edge to him. When he came in here in the spring, his focus was a little bit different. You get a year under, you …
“We called it.”
Steelers Keys To Victory
- Attack downfield.
- Get James Conner established quickly.
- No turnovers!!!!!
- Punish Blake Bortles every time he drops back to pass.
- Wrap up Leonard Fournette.
- Make the Jaguars one dimensional.
The Steelers are hungry, and they are focused right now. Jacksonville, on the other hand, comes into this game losing six of their past seven games. Though they may not mention it out loud, everyone on Pittsburgh’s roster has to have a bitter taster in their mouths when they think of the last two games they’ve played against the Jags. Not only will a win bring the Steelers win streak to six, it’ll likely knock the Jaguars out of the playoff race.
Do the Steelers really need any more incentive in this one?
The Jaguars already know.
“Yeah I would imagine so,” said middle linebacker Myles Jack. “I’m sure a lot of teams are kind of having that ‘get-back party’ against us. But yeah, I definitely think they would want to kind of avenge what happened last year because we jumped on them last year.
“I won’t say guys are playing harder (against us), it’s just a little more want-to, but we’ll have that same intensity. And even though our record doesn’t show it, it’s going to be two talented teams going at each other. Guys are going to step up. There’s going to be superstars on the field so it’s going to be a high-caliber game. I feel we can get a win, I feel that every time I suit up and go out there. This will be a great week for us to get a win and get the ball rolling for the remainder of the season.”
Despite their 3-6 record, don’t look for the Steelers to overlook Jacksonville in any way, shape, or form.
“They’re a much better football team than their record,” Roethlisberger said. “I think it’s because they have a bull’s-eye on their chest now. You are going to get teams’ best and I think they got their division’s best playing so far. I am not looking at their record because you can’t. If you do, you are going to get fooled.”
The Jaguars are No. 2 overall in total defense and No. 1 against the pass. The Steelers are #4 in total offense and #3 in passing.
Something’s gotta give here.
“They are arguably still the very best defense in football,” Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said. “They do not give up big plays. We’re playing well offensively when we are getting big plays. They specialize in minimizing big plays. Hunting big plays versus these guys, you do so at a risk because their rush is so formidable. As you hunt big plays, these guys impact the game in a negative way in terms of sacks, fumbles, and so forth.”
Roethlisberger knows he will have to take care of the ball as he has during their five game winning streak.
“From front to back, they’re really good, really fast,” Roethlisberger said. “With a lot of teams, we say it starts up front with their pass rush. This group has an unbelievable pass rush with their front four. Their linebackers are some of the fastest you’ll ever play against. Their secondary is as good a secondary you will play. This will definitely be the biggest challenge for us.”
The best thing for the Steelers to do is get James Conner established in the running game as soon as possible. That should make Jacksonville susceptible on a few deep shots Roethlisberger and the Steeler offense will surely go for a few times Sunday. The Steelers respect the Jags defense, that doesn’t mean they are afraid of them or are going to go against their own strengths in this game.
It would also behoove the defense to make tackles at the point of contact. They have been excellent at this all year. The Steelers are tied for 2nd in the NFL in sacks with 31. That trend needs to continue this week against an average Blake Bortles, whom the Steelers allowed to pass all over in the playoff loss.
This one feels personal, and it should be. Look for the Steelers to continue their winning ways and further solidify their lead in the AFC North.
Steelers 27 Jaguars 16
NFL Week 11
Pittsburgh Steelers at Jacksonville Jaguars
Venue: TIAA Bank Field, Jacksonville, FL.
Kickoff: Sunday, November 18th, at 1:00 pm
TV: CBS (locally KDKA-TV, channel 2) | Announcers: Jim Nantz (play-by-play) Tony Romo (analyst) | Tracy Wolfson (sideline)
Local Radio: Pittsburgh- 102.5 WDVE-FM/970 WBGG-AM | Announcers: Bill Hillgrove (play-by-play) Tunch Ilkin (analyst) | Craig Wolfley (sideline)
National Radio: N/A | Announcers:
Weather at Kickoff: 73 with a 30% of rain. Winds NNE 8 mph.
Vegas Line: Pittsburgh -5.5
Fantasy Football Focus
- Start: QB Ben Roethlisberger, RB James Conner, WR Antonio Brown, WR JuJu Smith-Schuster
- Sleeper: TE Vance McDonald, Steelers Defense
- Sit: TE Jesse James
- Start: WR Dede Westbrook
- Sleeper: RB Leonard Fournette
- Sit: QB Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Defense
- Series History: Series began in 1995.
- The Steelers are 11-12 in the overall Regular Season series against the Jaguars.
- Steelers are 6-5 at home vs the Jaguars.
- Steelers are 5-7 on road vs the Jaguars.
- Streak: Jacksonville won previous meeting.
- Last Regular Season Meeting: Oct. 8, 2017, in Pittsburgh (Jacksonville 30, Pittsburgh 9)
- Steelers are 0-2 in the Post-Season vs the Jaguars.
- Last Post-Season Meeting: Jan. 14, 2018, in Pittsburgh (Jacksonville 45, Pittsburgh 42) – AFC Divisional Playoff
- Jaguars S Barry Church is from Pittsburgh, Pa., and graduated from Penn Hills High School.
- The Steelers aim to improve to 10-9 on Thursday Night Football (8-2 at home).
- Ben Roethlisberger needs 112 passing yards to reach 3,000-passing yards in 2018 and for the 13th season in his NFL career, all consecutive, dating back to 2006.
- Roethlisberger, with a win, would improve to 5-3 vs. Jacksonville in the regular season as a starter and to 4-1 on the road at the Jaguars.
- Antonio Brown needs one touchdown catch to reach 70 in his NFL career and with the Steelers.
- Brown, with 100 catches in 2018, will become the first player in NFL history to record 100 or more receptions in six consecutive years.
- JuJu Smith-Schuster is one touchdown receptions shy of 10 in his NFL career.
- T.J. Watt needs five sacks to reach 20.0 in his NFL career.
- Cam Heyward is 2.5 sacks from becoming tying Aaron Smith (44.0) for the second-most by a Steelers defensive lineman since sacks became an official statistic in 1982 (Keith Willis: 59.0).
A look at the Pittsburgh Steelers!
- Overall Record: 6-2-1
- Head Coach: Mike Tomlin (12th Season with Steelers)
- Overall Regular Season Record: 122-62-1 (.662)
- Playoff Record: 8-7 (Qualified for playoffs 8 times)
- 2018 Pittsburgh Steelers Roster
- Steelers Team Statistics, including Defensive Stats
- Last Game: Pittsburgh 52 Carolina 21
Scouting the Steelers
Ben Roethlisberger has been on fire during the Steeler’s winning steak. Big Ben’s big arm, along with his uncanny ability to slip out of the pocket and extend plays makes him one one of the league’s best.
Le’Veon Bell who? James Conner has shown he more than capable of shouldering a starters share of carries. He has slimmed down and has added speed and quickness to an already powerful running style. Conner has become a dual threat and is one of the best RB’s in the NFL. Jaylen Samuels is an H-Back type of player that can line up all over the field. He is especially dangerous catching passes out of the backfield. Steven Ridley is a capable runner that can be counted upon on an as needed basis.
What more can you say about Antonio Brown? He is the league’s best wide receiver. His dedication and drive to be the best is unmatched by any player in the league. JuJu Smith-Schuster heads into his 2nd season and has picked up where he left off. Speaking of rookies, James Washington was a Camp favorite of Roethlisberger, and could quickly establish himself as a dangerous weapon in the slot as the 3rd receiver. Justin Hunter is a nice deep threat. Darrius Heyward-Bey is mainly used on special teams. Ryan Switzer has been good in the return game, but has also established himself as a reliable target for Roethlisberger out of the slot..
Jesse James is reliable as ever. Vance McDonald is making a big impact in his 2nd year as a Steeler, often delivering punishing hits while being tackled . Xavier Grimble provides a big target for Roethlisberger in the Red Zone.
Up front, the Steelers deploy Cam Heyward and Stephon Tuitt as their defensive ends. In the middle, Javon Hargrave and Daniel McCullers will rotate. Tyson Alualu and Kameron Canaday will see time at defensive end as well. L.T. Walton can play all three spots.
The linebacker unit goes Bud Dupree and T.J. Watt on the outside, with Vince Williams and Jon Bostic in the middle. Anthony Chickillo and Matthew Thomas back-up Dupree and Watt, while L.J. Fort and Tyler Matakevich are reserves in the middle.
In the secondary, Artie Burns and Joe Haden are the starters at cornerback. Backing them up will be Brian Allen, Mike Hilton, Cameron Sutton, and Coty Sensabaugh. Rookie Terrell Edmunds starts at strong safety, with Morgan Burnett backing him up and seeing plenty of action in nickle and dime formations. Sean Davis is the starter yet again at free safety, with Jordan Dangerfield and Marcus Allen as reserves.
- Ben Roethlisberger (2,888 yards passing | 21 TD passes | 7 interceptions | 12 sacks | 75 yards rushing | 2 TD’s)
- James Conner (771 yards rushing | 10 rushing TD’s | 39 receptions | 387yards receiving | 1 receiving TD’s)
- Stevan Ridley (56 yards rushing | 0 rushing TD’s | 3 receptions | 18 yards receiving | 0 receiving TD’s)
- Jaylen Samuels (26 yards rushing | 0 rushing TD’s | 3 receptions | 22 yards receiving | 1 receiving TD’s)
- Roosevelt Nix (0 yards rushing | 0 rushing TD’s | 3 receptions | 36 yards receiving | 0 receiving TD’s)
- Juju Smith-Schuster (56 receptions | 762 receiving yards | 3 receiving TD’s)
- Antonio Brown (57 receptions | 690 receiving yards | 10 receiving TD’s)
- Ryan Switzer (18 receptions | 119 receiving yards | 1 receiving TD’s)
- James Washington (7 receptions | 66 receiving yards | 1 receiving TD’s)
- Justin Hunter (3 receptions | 21 receiving yards | 0 receiving TD’s)
- Darrius Heyward-Bey (1 receptions | 9 receiving yards | 0 receiving TD’s)
- Vance McDonald (30 receptions | 390 receiving yards | 1 receiving TD’s)
- Jesse James (22 receptions | 344 receiving yards | 1 receiving TD’s)
- Xavier Grimble (3 receptions | 44 receiving yards | 0 receiving TD’s)
- Chris Boswell (Extra Point: 29-33 | FG: 8-11 | 0-19: 0-0 | 20-29: 3-3 | 30-39: 3-3 | 40-49: 1-4 | 50+: 1-1 | Long: 50)
A look at the Jacksonville Jaguars!
- Overall Record: 3-6
- Head Coach: Doug Marrone (3rd Season with Jaguars)
- Overall Regular Season Record: 29-30 (.492) | 14-13 (.519) with Jaguars
- Playoff Record: 2-1 (Qualified for playoffs 1 times)
- 2018 Jacksonville Jaguars Roster
- Jacksonville Team Statistics, including Defensive Stats
- Last Week: Indianapolis 29 Jacksonville 26
Scouting the Jaguars
Blake Bortles hasn’t played up to par so far in 2018. He has 2,341 yards passing, but only 12 TD’s to go with eight interceptions. He’s been sacked 18 times.
Leonard Fournette is back after missing a month with an injured hamstring.
Dede Westbrook leads the team with 38 receptions. Donte Moncrief tops the jags with 477 receiving yards. Both talented wide-outs have three touchdowns apiece. Keelan Cole is Bortle’s third option in the passing game.
Jacksonville employs a trio of tight ends. James O’Shaughnessy, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, and Niles Paul have combined for 35 receptions and 335 yards.
Jacksonville is still playing stout defense, allowing just 22.1 points per game and only 319.1 yards per game. They have only gotten to the opposing quarterback 19 times.
- Blake Bortles (2,341 yards passing | 12 TD passes | 8 interceptions | 18 sacks | 269 yards rushing | 1 TD’s)
- T.J. Yeldon (346 yards rushing | 1 rushing TD’s | 42 receptions | 397 yards receiving | 4 receiving TD’s)
- Leonard Fournette (124 yards rushing | 1 rushing TD’s | 9 receptions | 75 yards receiving | 1 receiving TD’s)
- Dede Westbrook (38 receptions | 465 receiving yards | 3 receiving TD’s)
- Donte Moncrief (32 receptions | 477 receiving yards | 3 receiving TD’s)
- Keelan Cole (29 receptions | 375 receiving yards | 1 receiving TD’s)
- D.J. Chark, Jr. (12 receptions | 159 receiving yards | 0 receiving TD’s)
- James O’Shaughnessy (14 receptions | 147 receiving yards | 0 receiving TD’s)
- Austin Seferian-Jenkins (11 receptions | 90 receiving yards | 1 receiving TD’s)
- Niles Paul (10 receptions | 98 receiving yards | 0 receiving TD’s)
- Josh Lambo (Extra Point: 14-15 | FG: 14-15 | 0-19: 0-0 | 20-29: 4-4 | 30-39: 5-5 | 40-49: 1-1 | 50+: 4-5 Long: 57)
Steelers – Jaguars: Offense vs Defense Match-Up
- Steelers Offense: Steelers average 428.7 YPG | Jaguars defense allows 319.1 YPG
- Rushing: Steelers average 105.7 YPG | Jaguars defense allows 118.6 YPG
- Passing: Steelers average 323 YPG | Jaguars defense allows 200.6 YPG
- Scoring: Steelers average 31 PPG | Jaguars defense allows 22.1 PPG
- Steelers Defense: Steelers allow 336.1 YPG | Jaguars offense averages 372.4 YPG
- Rushing: Steelers allow 90.8 YPG | Jaguars offense averages 94.6 YPG
- Passing: Steelers allow 245.3 YPG | Jaguars offense averages 277.9 YPG
- Scoring: Steelers allow 23.2 PPG | Jaguars offense averages 17.8 PPG
Injury Report (11/16/2018)
- Out: OT Marcus Gilbert (Knee), DE Stephon Tuitt (Elbow)
- Doubtful: N/A
- Questionable: N/A
- Out: CB Quenton Meeks (Knee)
- Doubtful: DT Eli Ankou (Calf), OL Josh Walker (Foot/Ankle)
- Questionable: OL A.J. Cann (Hamstring), DT Marcell Dareus (Triceps/Back)
Pittsburgh Steelers 2018 Schedule
Thursday, Aug. 9 @ Philadelphia W, 31-14 (KDKA)
Thursday, Aug. 16 @ Green Bay L, 51-34 (KDKA)
Saturday, Aug. 25 TENNESSEE W, 16-6 (KDKA/NFL Network)
Thursday, Aug. 30 CAROLINA W, 39-24 (KDKA)
REGULAR SEASON (6-2-1)
Sunday, Sept. 9 @ Cleveland 1 p.m. | TIE- 21-21
Sunday, Sept. 16 KANSAS CITY 1 p.m. | L- 42-37
Monday, Sept. 24 @ Tampa Bay 8:15 p.m. | W- 30-27
Sunday, Sept. 30 BALTIMORE 8:20 p.m. | L- 26-14
Sunday, Oct. 7 ATLANTA* 1 p.m. | W- 41-17
Sunday, Oct. 14 @ Cincinnati* | W- 28-21
Sunday, Oct. 21 BYE WEEK
Sunday, Oct. 28 CLEVELAND* | W- 33-18
Sunday, Nov. 4 @ Baltimore* | W- 23-16
Thursday, Nov. 8 CAROLINA | W- 52-21
Sunday, Nov. 18 @ Jacksonville 1:00 p.m. (CBS)
Sunday, Nov. 25 @ Denver* 4:25 p.m. (CBS)
Sunday, Dec. 2 LOS ANGELES CHARGERS* 8:20 p.m. (CBS)
Sunday, Dec. 9 @ Oakland* 4:25 p.m. (NBC)
Sunday, Dec. 16 NEW ENGLAND* 4:25 p.m. (CBS)
Monday, Dec. 23 @ New Orleans* 4:25 p.m. (CBS)
Sunday, Dec. 30 CINCINNATI* 1 p.m. (CBS)
* – Times may change due to flexible scheduling
Sat.-Sun., Jan. 5-6 Wild Card Weekend
Sat.-Sun., Jan. 12-13 Divisional Playoff Games
Sunday, Jan. 20 Conference Championships
Sunday, Jan. 27 Pro Bowl (Orlando, Fla.)
Sunday, Feb. 3 Super Bowl LIII (Atlanta, Ga.)
From Midland, "The Basketball Capital of Pennsylvania", located 35 miles NW of Pittsburgh along the Ohio River. This former steel town was home to storied athletes such as Dave Alston, Norm Van Lier, Simmie Hill, and the legendary 1965 Midland High School Basketball Team.
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