Keys to victory for the Steelers over the Jaguars in Week 8
The Pittsburgh Steelers are coming off a winning performance in Week 7, a 24-17 win over the Los Angeles Rams, and while it was the team’s fourth win, it was a performance which didn’t lift many fans’ hopes. The hope is there is a better performance on the horizon on Sunday in Week when the team hosts the Jacksonville Jaguars.
What exactly do the Steelers need to do to claim their fifth victory of 2023? Let’s break it down by offense and defense…
Exploit a weakness
The Steelers offense has been dumbed down so much, you can tell what they want to do in the first half is to literally survive. Just keep your head above water. However, in the second half is when they start to get their stuff together. Could the success in the 4th quarter of the Rams game bleed into the Jaguars game? Could they actually exploit a team’s weakness instead of just surviving? That’s the next step for this unit.
Establish some balance
The Jaguars’ run defense is legit, but that doesn’t mean the Steelers should abandon the run and throw it 40+ times. No, they need to establish some balance and keep players like Josh Allen off balance by mixing in the run and the pass. The Steelers have had success when they run play-action, yet they don’t do it very often. All of that starts with establishing some semblance of balance.
Keep the good times rollin’
As I stated earlier, can the Steelers pick up where they left off? But not just with general success, but with the specifics of the offense. Can the Pickett to Pickens connection remain near unstoppable in some situations? Can the offensive line start to gel and move bodies in the trenches? Can the Steelers start to resemble a team who can be a force to be reckoned with? Let’s hope the good times just keep rolling at Acrisure Stadium Sunday.
Trevor Lawrence is a unique blend of size, skill and speed. He isn’t a runner like Lamar Jackson, but can absolutely beat you with his legs. Lawrence has been under pressure a lot this season, and the Steelers keeping that going will be unbelievably important for the success of the home team. Even if the Steelers don’t have a huge day in the sack department, putting pressure on Lawrence, and not letting him get comfortable, will help an ailing secondary.
Be the dictators
It’s been a while since we’ve seen the Steelers defense dictate the pace of play, and what the opposition is trying to do. Can the Steelers make Travis Etienne a non-factor? Doing so would force the Jaguars into a pass-only offensive philosophy. And while the Steelers’ secondary has their issues, knowing what the opposition is going to do based on down and distance can severely boost the team’s chances of victory.
When you look at the Steelers defensive rankings, it’s bad. The numbers you see next to the team name are numbers you never see when talking about the defense. Nonetheless, the team’s approach has to be to stop something. Maybe it’s the run game, or maybe it’s to hang your hat on being a “bend don’t break” defense with an incredible red-zone defense. Many might laugh at giving up yards, but if it doesn’t equate in touchdowns, you can win that way. Just stop something…anything.
I talk about this, and MUCH more on the Friday episode of “Let’s Ride”, and you can hear that podcast in the player below this article. In the meantime, be sure to stay tuned to SCN for the latest news and notes surrounding the team as they gear up for game time!