Jacksonville Jaguars at Pittsburgh Steelers (-7): Game Picks

Jan 12, 2018

Will Ben Roethlisberger redeem himself against the Jaguars?

This may be the rematch everyone has been waiting for after the Jaguars stunned the Steelers during Week 5 in a 30-9 romping. In that game, in case you forgot, Ben Roethlisberger had arguably the worst game of his career throwing five interceptions and zero touchdowns. Blake Bortles wasn’t any better as he only passed for 95 yards and one interception. Jacksonville’s defense is a scary matchup for any team and you can be sure that Roethlisberger hasn’t forgotten about that game.

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Despite the recent meeting between these two teams, Vegas expects the Steelers to take care of business at home. Perhaps they just don’t have faith in Blake Bortles to remain mistake free. Or maybe they saw just how poorly the Jaguars offense looked against the Bills. Surely the Steelers are more capable than the Bills’ offense, but are they good enough to win by more than a touchdown? The experts have weighed in with their against the spread picks.

More Game Picks:
Falcons at Eagles (+3)Titans at Patriots (-13.5)Saints at Vikings (-4.5)

Jacksonville Jaguars (+7)

Pittsburgh Steelers (-7)

60%

of Experts

40%

of Experts

“The Jaguars defense will keep it close.”
Jamey Eisenberg (CBS Sports)
“Jags stellar defense will be able to keep this game close enough despite the offense struggling in past weeks.”
Joe Bond (Fantasy Six Pack)
“I don’t think the Jags win, but three things could be huge factors; this is probably the best defense in the league, Pittsburgh’s defense takes a hit with Ryan Shazier gone and Antonio Brown might not be 100%. There’s also the demons Big Ben needs to deal with after tossing 5 picks against this team earlier this year. Blake Bortles isn’t any good, but this spread is a slap in the face for this Jax D.”
Kevin Roberts (Breaking Football)
“Defense vs. Offense. The Jags defense keeps it close but the Steelers pull it out.”
Frank Stampfl (RotoExperts)
“I ultimately think the Steelers will be able to avenge their loss to Jacksonville from earlier this season, but I think the Jaguars’ defense can keep it close. At the end of the day, Blake Bortles cannot play like he did last week and expect to help Jacksonville win. Also, the Pittsburgh offense should be much better off than they were earlier in the season when these two teams met, and having Antonio Brown back in the fold certainly doesn’t hurt either.”
Adam Sutton (DraftStars)
“Getting 7 points for a team that won the matchup in the regular season, SIGN ME UP.”
Bill Enright (FFChamps)
“I like the Steelers to eke out a win as there is no way Ben Roethlisberger throws five interceptions again against Jacksonville. That being said I do believe that the “Sacksonville” defense will keep them within the seven points spread.”
Walton Spurlin (Pro Football Focus)
“Defense wins championships right? The Jags feature one of the leagues top defenses, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Jacksonville win this game outright.”
KJ (Fantasy Team Advice)
“I don’t expect Roethlisberger to throw 5 picks against them like he did in October, and I don’t expect Blake Bortles to lead the Jags in rushing again. What I do expect, is the Jaguars defense to continue being the story. Even with Antonio Brown expected back, and Pittsburgh at home, the Jags should keep it close enough to take the points.”
Rich Piazza (Fantasy Shed)
“This game will be my biggest play of the weekend. I love two big angles here that always lead to cashing tickets here in Vegas this time of year: a dominant defense + a strong running game. That formula historically tends to travel well in cold weather games played outside at this time of year and leads to a return to the betting counter at the final whistle. I know backing Blake Bortles heading into Heinz Field is a risky proposition but I think there is extreme value with more than a TD with a team boasting the best defense of the Elite Eight squads and a team that went into Pittsburgh and won earlier this year with ease. Five interceptions of Big Ben at any point of the season can never be overlooked + factor in a limited Antonio Brown versus Jalen Ramsey and a Steelers defense missing their best player Ryan Shazier. I think the Jags have been undervalued all year and I can see Jacksonville catching Pittsburgh at the right time.”
Staff Rankings (ScoutFantasy)
“Jacksonville won’t be intimidated, and obviously it knows it can win here. But we haven’t seen dominant Fournette in three months.”
Scott Pianowski (Yahoo! Sports)
“In Week 5 in Pittsburgh the Jags pounded the Steelers 30-9 even though ‘quarterback’ Blake Bortles had just 95 yards and an interception on 8-of-14 passing. The defense was in peak form as quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw five interceptions and running back Le’Veon Bell was held to 47 yards rushing. Wide receiver Antonio Brown (calf) is expected to return to action, but he’ll have a tough matchup against cornerbacks Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye and might not be at full strength. The Jags have outperformed the spread this season by an average of 6.26 points per game, which is first among all playoff teams.”
Matthew Freedman (FantasyLabs)
“Blake Bortles is back to being a mess, which makes it hard to back the Jags with any confidence. But Jacksonville’s defense is suffocating, and the Jaguars might just be able to gin up enough offense by going uber-run-heavy against a Pittsburgh defense that hasn’t been able to stop the run since Ryan Shazier’s injury.”
Pat Fitzmaurice (The Football Girl)
“The Jaguars sport the league’s best pass defense by a wide margin and finished 2nd in the AFC in regular-season point differential — 3.2 points per game ahead of Pittsburgh.”
Matt Schauf (Draft Sharks)
“Pittsburgh had no recipe for stopping Fournette with Shazier out. Plus, not only do the Jags have the best pass defense, but since they traded for Marcell Dareus, their 3.62 YPC allowed is top 5 in football.”
Bobby Sylvester (FantasyPros)
“While the Steelers are likely to win this game at home, the spread is just too big. Even if the Steelers take a lead, they won’t pile on against the Jaguars. Instead, they’ll cling to that lead, which should keep the game within reach.”
Mike Tagliere (FantasyPros)
“Jacksonville defense is way too strong to be a seven point dog, especially because many are overlooking them assuming a Steelers/Patriots matchup next week. Look for Pittsburgh to feed Lev Bell and attack the Jags in the only place they might be vulnerable. The Steelers average 28.3 ppg at home and 22.5 on the road, the only time thy scored fewer than 20 points at home was week 5, against these Jags.”
Kevin Wheeler (NFL Mock)

“Bortles probably shouldn’t have tossed LeBron James into the mix as he responded to criticism, but recency bias is skewing perception. Yes, he was terrible on Sunday and missed receiver after receiver. Just remember that the hot-takers were looking at a four-game stretch in a vacuum. Run the ball. Control the clock. Or die trying. Marrone has to slow this thing down, trust his corners and bring the heat. I think this one’s more of a grind for Pittsburgh’s advancement.”
Mike Harmon (Swollen Dome)

“The Jaguars already beat the Steelers in Pittsburgh once this season, 30-9 in Week 5. They may not win and surely not by 21 points but with an elite defense and good running game they should be able to keep it close enough to cover the spread.”
Brad Richter (Going For 2)
“If you think the Blake Bortles jokes were wild last week, wait to see what happens when he’s playing on the road. Numbers much worse away from home, though the stat of 19 touchdowns passes with zero interceptions in the red-zone clearly travels. Tell me Jacksonville can win the turnover battle and establish the ground game and I’ll take them. Alas…”
Ben Standig (CSN Mid-Atlantic)
“Plainly put, the slumping Jaguars simply won’t be able to score enough points on offense to come out on top of a Steelers’ team with two of the best offensive weapons in football (Bell and Brown) – both healthy, and ready to produce.”
David Biggs (Drink Five)
“This game will be very different to the one when they faced each other in Week 5. The Steelers are now a much better team. We all witnessed Blake Bortles’ performance against the Bills last week, that’s not how you win a game in the postseason, on the road, facing the Steelers.”
Mauricio Gutierrez (Estadio Fantasy)
“If Leonard Fournette looked healthier, I’d be more intrigued by the Jags getting a touchdown. And while the recency bias associated with Jacksonville’s uninspiring play against Buffalo last week is probably clouding my judgement, I just can’t pick Blake Bortles on the road.”
Greg Smith (TwoQBs)
“Too much firepower.”
Andy Holloway (The Fantasy Footballers)
“Obviously, there’s some precedent in favor of the Jaguars here, as they demolished the Steelers in the teams’ first meeting back in Week 5, which came at Heinz Field. But the Steelers offense is an entirely different animal at this point in the season, and Blake Bortles has regressed to being . . . Blake Bortles. Though still outstanding, the vaunted Jaguars defense has shown cracks against decent offenses lately (the 49ers, the Seahawks, even the Cardinals), and I’d expect the Steelers to exact revenge for their earlier defeat. I think the Steelers will get out to an early lead and that Bortles’ poor play will only help pad that lead.”
Dan Harris (FantasyPros)
“An outright upset wouldn’t surprise here, but I still worry Blake Bortles ends the Jags season in ugly fashion.”
Dalton Del Don (Yahoo! Sports)
“Jacksonville’s 30-9 defeat of the Steelers at Heinz Field was one of the biggest shockers of the season. It was that day it became clear that the Jaguars were a playoff team. However, this is not the same Pittsburgh team that failed to show up that Sunday. They’ve gone 10-1 since that game. Big Ben was picked off a career-high five times and Le’Veon Bell held to just 47 yards rushing. Pittsburgh gets their revenge here and moves on with a 26-17 win.”
Dan Clasgens (Pro Football Focus)
“The Steelers have beat the spread in five of their last six playoff games at home. Like the Patriots, the Ravens are the only team to cause a blemish in recent years. There is a revenge factor to this game. In Week 5, Ben Roethlisberger was at one of the lowest points of his career. He threw five picks and the Jaguars were able to cash two of them in for touchdowns. The Jaguars were only just building their reputation then, but the Steelers will be ready this time. Just the same, that secondary with those safeties and corners are dead drop awesome. We used to talk about Denver’s high level, but these guys play it like an art. When you add Calais Campbell, Dante Fowler and Malik Jackson up front – yikes! The problem for Jacksonville though is generating enough offense. You can hold Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell for only so long. The Jags need ball control badly in this game, but I just cannot see them getting it with the Steelers content to stack Fournette and forcing Bortles to throw.”
Richard Savill (Fantasy Six Pack)
“Antonio Brown is reportedly back to full health, or at least something close to it, which is more than enough to push me toward Pittsburgh. Blake Bortles fulfilled every expectation of his crappiness last week, and that was at home in what should have been a relatively low-pressure circumstance. This week, Jacksonville won’t be able to hide his shortcomings, while Ben Roethlisberger, who threw five picks in the teams’ first meetings, has played far better of late.”
Des Bieler (The Washington Post)
“This is by far the most difficult game to pick. Pittsburgh can blow this game wide open. They could also struggle against a tough defense. I’m seeing woo’s from Jacksonville offense.
Pittsburgh is too explosive.”
Chris Heil (Fantasy Sports Rants)
“It’s tough to take the spread with the Steelers considering how poorly they played in Week 5 against this same Jaguars squad. There are several factors in Pittsburgh’s favor, though, including home-field advantage, Antonio Brown, Le’Veon Bell and Blake Bortles. Jacksonville’s offense will have a much tougher time scoring against Pittsburgh’s defense than vice versa.”
Zach Greubel (Gridiron Experts)
“If Jesse James had caught that pass in Week 15, the Steelers would likely be riding an 11-game winning streak. As much as I like the Jags’ defense – we obviously have to take their Week 5 rout at Pittsburgh into account – I don’t think their offense will score enough. 20-10, maybe?”
John Halpin (RotoWire.com)
“It’s not the most optimal matchup for the Steelers, but Antonio Brown will play, Ben Roethlisberger wants revenge, and I just don’t see Blake Bortles getting bailed out again.”
Robert Waziak (Pyromaniac)
“The Jaguars already beat Pittsburgh this season so I’m guessing that Mike Tomlin will make some adjustments here and I just don’t see Jacksonville’s offense as credible enough to beat the Steelers twice in one season.”
Jody Smith (Gridiron Experts)

* Lock symbols represent the expert’s most confident game pick.

Thank you to the experts for giving their against the spread picks. Enjoy the playoffs!


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