The Jaguars are set to host the Steelers this weekend in a matchup of franchises headed in opposite directions. Jacksonville has pulled off just one victory on the season and are losers of eight straight contests. Pittsburgh, on the other hand, has yet to taste defeat in 2020.
A Rivalry Renewed
Former AFC Central rivals, the Jags and Steelers have a long history. The Jaguars have emerged victorious against their foes from the north in 14 of 26 all-time meetings, including the playoffs. The Big Cats are the only franchise to have defeated the Steelers twice in Pittsburgh in a season, and they've done it twice — in 2007 and 2017. But the Steelers have won six of the last eight times the teams have clashed in Jacksonville.
Can Luton Hold on to QB1 Job?
Jake Luton will start again this week, but after a mediocre at best showing in his second career start last week, he'll need to perform at a higher level to hold off Gardner Minshew, who's progressing in his recovery from a thumb injury. Minshew played reasonably well prior to his injury (sustained on October 11th at Houston) and might get another shot as the starter if Luton doesn't improve upon his last showing.
No CJ Henderson
The Jaguars' top selection in the 2020 NFL Draft won't be available. Henderson suffered a groin injury this week and subsequently found himself on the IR. So he'll be out for at least the next three weeks. To make things worse, the Jaguars' other starting cornerback on the outside, Sidney Jones, is questionable with an achilles injury. The Jaguars could be down their top two corners against one of the most potent passing offenses in football.
Get Chark More Involved!
Chark's target volume has been a mixed bag this year. The prevailing thought is that he should be more involved on a consistent basis. Last week he saw just five targets and certainly made the most of them. He should be flirting with double-digit targets in every game, and I'd look for the Jags' offense to feature him more against the Steelers.
Keep Feeding J-Rob
James Robinson has been the Jaguars' most consistent threat on the offensive side of the ball. He may well eclipse 1,000 total yards on the season in this one. He needs just 83 yards to do so. Robinson has also been their only consistent source of touchdowns.
Hamilton + Costin
After making the first start of his career in week nine, rookie defensive tackle Doug Costin missed last week's contest due to a concussion. But he's back this week, and he and fellow rookie DaVon Hamilton will take the majority of the reps on the defensive interior. Can they perform at the same level in week 11?
The Jaguars currently hold the number two overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. With a loss, they'll likely hold serve this week, but a win could see their draft stock plummet. Washington, Dallas, and Los Angeles all have two losses and an easier strength of schedule the Jacksonville(the tiebreaker for draft positioning), so if the Jaguars win and those teams lose, all three could potentially jump the Jags in draft position. The only winless team in football, the Jets, take on the Chargers this week in Los Angeles. Should the Jets win that game, the Jaguars could move up to the top spot with a loss against the Steelers.
What's up with Jawaan?
Jawaan Taylor has improved markedly in terms of penalties this year, but his overall performance has left a lot to be desired on the right side of the Jaguars' offensive line. Among all offensive tackles, Taylor has allowed the second-most pressures and the second-most sacks this season. He certainly hasn't improved in year two, which is a significant cause for concern. Will he get back on the right track this week against the Steelers? It'll be a challenging task against one of the best front sevens in football.
McLaughlin an Asset?
The Jaguars signed Chase McLaughlin from the Vikings practice squad last week, and he immediately paid dividends. Against the Packers, he made both of his field-goal tries and was also perfect on extra points. His performance helped the Jags keep it close in Green Bay. With another solid outing, he could prove to be an asset for the Jaguars down the stretch.
Against the Spread...
The Jaguars are 10.5 point underdogs at home this week. While the Jaguars have kept games close recently, the Steelers are a freight train. Potentially missing their top two cornerbacks, the Jaguars might have a tough time keeping this one close.
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