Steelers vs. Jaguars Game Day Newsletter 7 NOV 18th Steelers_DIGITAL - Page 79

JAGUARS TRY TO SNAP LOSING SKID WITH HOME MATCHUP AGAINST THE PITTSBURGH STEELERS JACKSONVILLE – Here comes a familiar foe, and another “must-win” game. Today the Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2-1) visit TIAA Bank Field to face the Jacksonville Jaguars (3-6). Let’s get this out of the way early: Last season the Jaguars knocked off the Pittsburgh Steelers twice in Pittsburgh in a single season, becoming only the second team in NFL history to accomplish the feat (Jaguars, 2007). The Week 5 game at Pittsburgh featured a swarming defense that intercepted Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger fi ve times, and then the Jaguars offense burned the fourth quarter away with a clock-churning power running attack in a 30-9 win. January’s Divisional Playoff game saw the Jaguars build an early lead and then keep pace with a comeback bid by the Steelers offense for a 45-42 Jaguars win to advance to the AFC Championship game. The way things have gone the last month and a half, that seems like years ago. How fast things can change in the NFL: A season later it doesn’t matter. Today’s game was originally scheduled to be played on NBC’s Sunday Night Football as a rematch of two elite AFC teams. NBC fl exed out of the game, moving it to the 1:00 p.m. window on CBS. The Steelers have held up their end of the bargain. After starting 1-2-1, the Steelers have reeled off fi ve consecutive victories to improve to 6-2-1, while averaging just over 35 points per game in the current streak. They look like a team poised to make a second half run to fi nish among the AFC’s elite once again, as they lead the competitive AFC North. The Jaguars have unfortunately gone the other direction. After starting 3-1 the Jaguars dropped the next fi ve in a row to fall to a disappointing 3-6 record, and they sit at the bottom of the AFC South standings after winning the division a year ago. The Jaguars’ playoff chances are on life support; only four teams have started 3-6 and then advanced to the playoffs since the league expanded the format in 1990: 1994 New England Patriots, 1995 Detroit Lions, 1996 Jacksonville Jaguars, 2012 Washington Redskins. Could the Steelers use last season as added motivation for what happened last season and try to knock the Jaguars pretty much completely out of playoff contention? Can the Jaguars wake up the echoes of last season’s dominance over the Steelers to snap the streak and start a late season-saving run? Both are possible if you consider the series history. As of late, the Steelers-Jaguars series has been fi lled with close games. Over the last 11 meetings (including two playoff games) the result has been decided by one possession nine times. The Jaguars have won six of the last 11