The Pittsburgh Steelers will host the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday at Heinz Field in a Divisional Round playoff game and not surprisingly, they’re considered early home favorites to win that contest.
According to vegasinsider.com, the Steelers opened as 7.5-point home favorites over the Jaguars, who advanced to the Divisional Round on Sunday with a 10-3 home win over the Buffalo Bills in an AFC Wildcard game.
The Jaguars, who finished the regular season with a 10-6 record, beat the Steelers 30-9 at Heinz Field back in Week 5. Ahead of that game Pittsburgh opened as 9-point home favorites over the Jaguars, who ultimately beat the Steelers thanks to scoring 27 of their 390 total points off turnovers.
In that October win over the Steelers, Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles completed just 8 of his 14 total pass attempts in that contest for 95 yards with no touchdowns and one interception. Bortles finished the 2017 regular season having completed 60.2% of his pass attempts for 3,687 yards with 21 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He was also sacked 24 times during the regular season.
The Jaguars running game is still led by rookie running back Leonard Fournette, who finished the regular season with 1,040 rushing yards and 9 touchdowns on 268 total carries. Fournette also registered 36 receptions for 302 yards and another touchdown during the regular season.
Wide receiver Marqise Lee was the Jaguars leading pass catcher during the 2017 regular season as the USC product registered 56 catches for 702 yards and 3 touchdowns. Only tight end Marcedes Lewis had more receiving touchdowns, 5, during the regular season than Lee did.
Defensively for the Jaguars, linebacker Telvin Smith led his team in total tackles during the regular season with 102. Defensive end Calais Campbell, however, led the Jaguars in sacks with 14.5 while outside linebacker Yannick Ngakoue wasn’t far behind with 12 quarterback takedowns of his own during the regular season. Defensive tackle Malik Jackson and outside linebacker Dante Fowler both recorded 8 sacks for the Jaguars during the regular season as well.
As a team, the Jaguars registered a league-best 21 interceptions during the regular season and cornerback A.J. Bouye led the way with 6 of them. Three other members of the Jaguars secondary, cornerback Jalen Ramsey, safety Barry Church and safety Tashaun Gipson, each registered 4 interceptions during the regular season.
According to the NFL’s official research department, only one team has beaten the Steelers in Pittsburgh twice within the same season, including playoffs, and that was the 2007 Jaguars.
The Jaguars lead the series against the Steelers 13-11-0 heading into Sunday’s Divisional Round playoff game. Dating back to 2001 and including their one playoff meeting against each other, the Jaguars are 4-2 against the Steelers all-time in games that were played at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.
The over/under for total points scored on Sunday between the Steelers and Jaguars opened at 40.5 and has since inched up to 41 at several online sportsbooks.