NFL football pick
NFL 2018 ,Wildcard , Jacksonville Jaguars vs Pittsburgh Steelers, 1 14 2018
Line Pittsburgh Steelers -7.5
The Pittsburgh Steelers will collide with the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC Divisional playoff Sunday afternoon from Heinz Field. The Jaguars recorded a 10-3 home win against the Bills in the Wildcard last week, while the Steelers enjoyed a bye week after winning the AFC with a 13-3 record. The Jaguars notched a 30-9 road win against the Steelers in week five. Leonard Fournette rushed for 181 yards for Jacksonville, and Roethlisberger tallied 312 passing yards with five interceptions for the Steelers.
The Jacksonville Jaguars stifling defense was on full display in their 10-3 home win over Buffalo in the Wildcard game this past Sunday. Blake Bortles kept it simple in the win, throwing for 87 yards with one touchdown to go with 89 rushing yards, however he did fumble the ball twice. The 25-year old quarterback definitely had an inconsistent season, and possesses a 22:13 TD to INT ratio. Jaguars’ leading rusher Leonard Fournette could not get a whole lot going against the Bills rush defense, rushing for 56 yards on 22 carries. The 22-year old running back had a tremendous rookie campaign, collecting 1096 rushing yards in 14 games played. Fournette tallied 86 rushing yards in the Jaguars week five win in Pittsburgh. The Jaguars top three receivers in Keelan Cole, Marqise Lee and Allen Hurns did not make one catch against Buffalo. The Jaguars can’t rely solely on their running game, so Bortles will have to find a way to get them involved in this one. Jacksonville is averaging 26.1 points per game, ranking them fifth in the NFL.
The Jaguars defense came up huge last week, limiting the Bills to only 263 total yards including only 133 passing yards. Jaguars’ cornerback Jalen Ramsey sealed the win with an interception last week, and now has five picks on the season. They have now notched 23 interceptions on the season. Jacksonville is allowing an average of 15.9 points per game.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are back in the Divisional round for the third straight season after another big season. Ben Roethlisberger will no doubt have his five interception performance against the Jaguars in week five fresh in his mind in this one. He had a productive season, surpassing the 4000 yard mark for the fifth time of his career with 4251 passing yards to go with a 28:14 TD to INT ratio in 15 games. Le’Veon Bell had another monster season, accumulating 1291 rushing yards and averaged four yards per carry. The Jaguars did contain Bell in the week four matchup, as he posted 47 rushing yards on 15 carries. Watch for Antonio Brown in this one as he torched the Jaguars in week five, racking up 157 receiving yards on 10 catches. The 29-year old star receiver has tallied 1533 receiving yards on the season. Brown is listed as questionable for this one with a calf injury, however chances are he will be able to play, however he might not be at 100%. The Steelers feature the third ranked passing game in the NFL and are averaging 25.4 points, ranking them eighth in the NFL.
The Steelers defense was not particularly sharp in the final stretch of the season, however they are holding opponents to an average of 19.2 points per game, good for seventh in the NFL. They did not play bad in the 30-9 loss to the Jaguars as Roethlisberger tossed five picks in that one. Pittsburgh features the fifth ranked pass defense and the tenth ranked rush defense.
Listed below is a summary of the games results in recent Head-to-Head matchups.
JACKSONVILLE is 15-9 against the spread versus PITTSBURGH since 1992
JACKSONVILLE is 13-11 straight up against PITTSBURGH since 1992
15 of 24 games in this series have gone UNDER THE TOTAL since 1992
JACKSONVILLE is 1-0 against the spread versus PITTSBURGH over the last 3 seasons
JACKSONVILLE is 1-0 straight up against PITTSBURGH over the last 3 seasons
1 of 1 games in this series have gone UNDER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons
The Jaguars feature a stifling defense that should at least keep them in this game. Their number one ranked pass defense is limiting opponents to an average of only 169.9 passing yards per game, and they should contain Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown. Furthermore, Le’Veon Bell only recorded 47 rushing yards on 15 carries in the Steelers loss to the Jaguars in week five.
In addition, Jacksonville features the top-ranked running game in the NFL. Leonard Fournette accumulated 181 rushing yards in the Jaguars 20-9 win in Pittsburgh in week five, and I expect a big game from him. The Jaguars are talented enough on both sides of the ball to keep this one very close.
Pick: Jacksonville Jaguars +7.5
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