How hard will both the Jacksonville Jaguars and Pittsburgh Steelers be rooting for heavy underdog Tennessee on Saturday night at New England? If the Titans can pull the shocker, then the Jaguars-Steelers winner would host the AFC title game. First things first, Pittsburgh is a solid NFL lines favorite for Sunday’s divisional game.
Jaguars at Steelers AFC Divisional Round NFL Lines & Prediction
This team is confident and loose.
There is no feeling of being an underdog. pic.twitter.com/ohuf0XXOca
— z-#Sacksonville (@Jaguars) January 11, 2018
When: Sunday, 1 PM ET
Where: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh
Radio: 92.5 FM (Jacksonville) / WDVE-FM 102.5 (Pittsburgh)
Stream Option: NFL Live
Opening NFL Lines: Steelers -7 (41)
- Chance of Thunderstorm: -8°C/17°F
- Humidity: 56%
- Precipitation: 1%
- Wind: 6 mph W
- Cloud Cover: 61%
- Type of Stadium: Open
In Week 5, the Jaguars shocked the Steelers 30-9 in Pittsburgh. Telvin Smith and Barry Church returned a pair of Ben Roethlisberger’s interceptions for touchdowns in the third quarter. The Jaguars picked Roethlisberger off five times in all and sacked him twice. Rookie Leonard Fournette ran for 181 yards and two touchdowns for the Jaguars. Roethlisberger completed 33 of 55 for 312 yards and his career-high five interceptions, the most by a Pittsburgh quarterback since Mark Malone threw five against Cleveland in 1987. Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown caught 10 passes for 157 yards.
This is the second postseason meeting between the teams. The Jaguars defeated the Steelers 31-29 in the 2007 AFC Wild Card Playoffs (January 5, 2008). Jacksonville leads the all-time series 13-11, including the postseason.
Why Bet on Jacksonville?
The Jaguars defeated Buffalo 10-3 last week as the team earned its first home playoff win since 1999 (January 15, 2000 vs. Miami in the Divisional Round). Quarterback Blake Bortles connected with tight end Ben Koyack for the game’s only touchdown.
Bortles completed 12 of 23 passes for just 87 yards but at least wasn’t picked off. The Jaguars had an 8–0 record during the regular season in games in which Bortles wasn’t picked off. None of Bortles’ 12 completions went to the starting wideout duo of Allen Hurns and Marqise Lee.
Bortles also rushed 10 times for 88 yards and fumbled twice, recovering one. He accomplished the unlikely feat of actually producing more yards on the ground than through the air. Bortles had five runs of 10 yards or longer. Since 1960, the only other quarterback with at least five double-digit runs in a postseason game was Colin Kaepernick for the 49ers against the Packers five years ago.
Bortles threw only 14 passes last time they played Pittsburgh. This time? “Hopefully we throw it less,” because that means Fournette and the defense is having a big day. Fournette struggled against the Bills and rushed for just 57 yards on 21 carries.
The Jaguars finished the season averaging 141.4 yards per game but tailed off late in the season and averaged just 104.3 over the final three games. Part of that is due to the fact that the Jaguars are facing more eight-plus-man boxes than any other team in the league (145 carries, which is 27.5 percent of their total carries).
- Average Score For: 25.12
- Total Yards: 357.94
- Pass Yards: 215.76
- Rush Yards: 142.18
- Average Score Against: 15.94
- Total Yards: 284.77
- Pass Yards: 167.71
- Rush Yards: 117.06
Why Bet on Pittsburgh?
Pittsburgh won the AFC North for the second consecutive year, the team’s eighth division title since realignment in 2002. The Steelers have 36 postseason victories, the most in NFL history.
Jacksonville finished No. 2 in the NFL in total defense (286.1 yards per game allowed), 2 in scoring defense (16.8 points per game against), also in takeaways (33) and No. 2 in sacks (55, trailing only the Steelers’ 56). The Steelers will counter with the NFL’s No. 3 total offense (377.9 yards per game), a unit that has averaged 31.3 points per game over its last seven games.
In the 10 games since the Jaguars loss, Roethlisberger has 22 touchdowns to seven interceptions. Roethlisberger was especially hot in December, averaging 325 yards per game with 16 total touchdowns over the final six weeks.
The week off allowed the Steelers to get healthy, specifically star WR Antonio Brown. He missed the final two-plus regular-season games with a partially torn calf muscle. Brown led the league with 1,533 receiving yards and is the only player in franchise history to lead the NFL in receiving yards multiple times. He has 582 receptions and 7,848 receiving yards over the past five seasons, the most in NFL history over any five-year span for both categories.
Brown recorded his first postseason touchdown catch, a 50-yard scoring strike from Roethlisberger, in a Wild Card win over the Miami Dolphins in the 2016 postseason. Le’Veon Bell scored his first postseason touchdown on a one-yard run in that same game. Bell (1,291) has accounted for 77.4 percent of the 1,667 rushing yards the Steelers managed this season.
The Steelers are 36-25 all-time in the postseason. The 36 wins are the most postseason wins of any team in NFL history. The team has 30 playoff berths since the 1970 NFL merger, the most of any other NFL team. The Dallas Cowboys are second to the Steelers with 28. The Steelers are 16-9 in the Divisional Round Games.
- Average Score For: 25.38
- Total Yards: 452.19
- Pass Yards: 273.75
- Rush Yards: 104.19
- Average Score Against: 19.25
- Total Yards: 306.75
- Pass Yards: 201.06
- Rush Yards: 105.69
Latest NFL Lines Trends
- Jacksonville is 12-5 ATS in its last 17 games when playing Pittsburgh
- Jacksonville is 8-3 SU in its last 11 games
- The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Jacksonville’s last 6 games on the road
- Pittsburgh is 1-5 ATS in its last 6 games
- Pittsburgh is 10-1 SU in its last 11 games
- The total has gone OVER in 5 of Pittsburgh’s last 7 games
Expert Prediction & NFL Betting Pick
Pittsburgh gets revenge but buy this number down to 6.5 as the Steelers may only win by a touchdown in the NFL lines.