January 24, 2019

Jacksonville's defense trending upward following Friday injury report

13 January 2018, 04:09 | Anna Jefferson

Sexton-Oehser: Back and forth

AFC Divisional Round Preview: Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

The general belief is there are four contenders for the Super Bowl in the NFC, two in the AFC. See, for me, I wouldn't have let Ben in. Opposing backfields have run for 130 (Cincinnati), 152 (Baltimore) and 176 (Houston, although in a blowout) yards since the Steelers' defensive leader went down.

Bortles will be lucky to reach 150 yards against a Pittsburgh defense that will focus on Fournette and challenge the 25-year-old quarterback to beat it by himself, which is something he'll be unable to do.

SHANNON: No, with that yeah, you got to be top five [INAUDIBLE] weapon.

Jacksonville already has done that, routing the Steelers at Heinz Field 30-9 in Week 5. Its best bet for disrupting New England's attack might be Casey, a slippery yet powerful rusher who fits the model of the kind of interior rusher that has given Brady trouble at times. They have the best defense in football.

All the numbers favor the Patriots extending their record of consecutive title games reached to seven.

The only players carrying an injury designation headed into the weekend are linebacker Blair Brown, who is questionable with an ankle injury and wide receiver Jayden Mickens who is questionable with an ailing hamstring. That's more such players than the 11 other 2017 playoff teams combined (13). "It's everything. There is not one thing". Despite his late-season struggles, Fournette still rushed for 1,040 yards and scored nine touchdowns in 13 games.

Whether motivated, distracted or unaffected by an ESPN report detailing his alleged discord with Bill Belichick, Tom Brady yet again faces another favorable outlook in the divisional round.

"We do what we always do". The Steelers need to figure out a plan of attack, and that plan of attack better not be to throw it every down. You never know. But I'd be surprised if he keeps playing. "It doesn't really matter what happened outside of this facility". Yet they opened as 6.5-point underdogs, with Vegas bookmakers not believing they can do what they did to the Steelers a second time. It took probably the worst day of Roethlisberger's career to create that result in October. But Bortles hasn't shown he can consistently play at a high level, and that is his biggest issue; the team has no idea what it would get out of him the following week in the AFC Championship Game. And, now, to your point, Le'Veon's talking about next year and it just seems like- I've said this again and again on the show, as much as I respect all that weaponry that Ben has on offense- something's been a little off about the Steelers the whole year. "I can't complain. I like where I am".

"Jason, I can't predict the future", Michael says.

Antonio Brown was sent home from Steelers practice Friday, but it wasn't because of the calf injury he's been nursing for the past four weeks.

Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone watches the action in the second half of the AFC Wild Card Round game against the Buffalo Bills at EverBank Field on January 7, 2018 in Jacksonville, Florida.

Although Philly is the No. 1 NFC seed, the Falcons are favored. Part has to do with the Falcons almost winning the Super Bowl last February. That should change Saturday, with the Eagles likely doing all they can to limit backup quarterback Nick Foles' role.

Foles, though, has had some success in Philadelphia.

"It went great today", Tuitt also said. "I've played this game a long time". I feel like I was able to run with good speed.

STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES - Second postseason meeting between teams.

The Saints' RB tandem of Mark Ingram and rookie Alvin Kamara wasn't quite in place yet, either.

Minnesota's D is balanced from front to back, so how Drew Brees deals with it could be the decider here. The good thing for the Steelers is that they own the edge in the kicking game.

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