The Pittsburgh Steelers are in the midst of preparing to take on the (1-8) Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday at TIAA Bank Field.
Playing Down to Competition
Fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers know that the team has a tendency to play down to their competition.
Throughout this season, this has come up a few times. The most prominent example was Pittsburgh’s matchup with the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium.
Dallas’ new quarterback, Garrett Gilbert, started in his first NFL game that week and threw for 243 yards and a touchdown. Wide receiver CeeDee Lamb had a successful day against a crippling Steelers defense.
Pittsburgh’s run game was also severely limited. Starting running back James Conner only carried the ball nine times for a total of 22 yards.
The Steelers narrowly escaped a loss and finished the game with a score of 24-19.
Pittsburgh bounced back, though, and easily handled last week’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Ben Roethlisberger is the AFC Player of the Week following his four-touchdown, 333-yard game against the Bengals. It's the 18th time he's been named the AFC Player of the Week, tying with Dan Marino for fifth all-time. https://t.co/PHOMazvrTV
— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) November 18, 2020
Playing down to their competition might not be an issue this week, but the Jaguars do have a few key players that could pose a threat to the Steelers.
Breakdown of Jaguars Standout Players
One of the biggest threats on Jacksonville’s offense is rookie running back James Robinson.
So far this season, Robinson has rushed for 689 yards on 155 rush attempts and has scored five touchdowns. He is averaging 4.4 yards per rush attempt.
The Jaguars’ leader in receiving yards is wide receiver D.J. Chark with a total of 493.
Jacksonville has a new starting quarterback after Gardner Minshew II was benched with a thumb injury. Although Minshew recently began throwing again, he will not be ready to play against the Steelers on Sunday.
This means rookie Jake Luton will be starting for the Jaguars. Luton was drafted by Jacksonville in the sixth round with the 189th overall pick.
Steelers Preparing for the Jaguars
Yet again, the Steelers are looking to extend their win streak as they prepare for this Sunday’s game.
The team could have a notable defensive starter returning to the lineup this week if things go well in practice. Cornerback Mike Hilton has been sidelined due to a shoulder injury he suffered in Week 6.
In his weekly press conference, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger explained that the team needs to focus on a clean, seamless win this week.
Ben Roethlisberger: “The goal isn't to go undefeated. The goal is to win a Super Bowl.” #Steelers
— Blitzburgh 🦃 (@RenegadeBlitz) November 18, 2020
“We are not worried about anything other than this week,” Roethlisberger said. “You look at past history of this game and it hasn’t been pretty for us. We have yet to play a really good game against [the Jaguars]. I am hungry to come out and get this game.”
Pittsburgh will be relying on their consistent passing game to dominate the matchup offensively.
Head coach Mike Tomlin addressed the team’s ability to adapt to the week’s expectations amongst increased virtual meetings.
“It’s probably more of an adjustment for us as coaches than it is for players,” Tomlin said. “They live in that technological world, handheld devices and so forth. They appear to be extremely comfortable with it. I think there’s less comfort from a coaching standpoint. In an effort to deliver appropriate material and in an effort to have them duly prepared it has our attention, and it is required. We will be in that state this week. I think it’s a significant thing for us to get better here this second time around the track.”
Featured Image Courtesy of The New York Times.
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