Jacksonville Jaguars (2-2; 2-2 ATS; 3-1 O/U) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-1; 2-2 ATS: 0-4 O/U)
NFL Week Five: Sunday, October 8, 2017 at 1:00pm EST
Line: Pittsburgh -9
The Pittsburgh Steelers will host the Jacksonville Jaguars in an AFC battle Sunday afternoon from Heinz Field. The Jaguars are coming off a tough 23-20 overtime road loss to the Jets, and the Steelers recorded a convincing 26-9 road win against the Ravens in their week four matchup. Pittsburgh defeated Jacksonville 17-9 in the previous meeting back in the 2014 season.
Bortles Struggles in Loss to Jets
The Jacksonville Jaguars erased a late 10 point deficit but could not execute in overtime in a 23-20 road loss to the Jets last week. Blake Bortles struggled in the loss, completing only 15 of his 35 passes for 140 yards with one touchdown and one interception. The 25-year old quarterback was back to his old ways after a strong week three and has now registered 732 passing yards with a 7:3 TD to INT ratio on the year. Leonard Fournette was a bright spot in the loss, rushing for 86 yards and also made four grabs for 59 yards. The 22-year old rookie out of LSU is off to a tremendous start to his NFL career, accumulating 285 rushing yards and 125 receiving yards in four games. Allen Hurns was targeted 10 times by Bortles last week but made just four catches for 42 yards. The fourth-year receiver has now collected a team-leading 186 receiving yards. The Jaguars offense has already been wildly inconsistent this season and it would not be surprising if head coach Doug Marrone opts to go with Chad Henne.
The Jaguars defense had some trouble with the Jets offense, surrendering 471 total yards which included 256 rushing yards against a weak Jets offense. Their defense has also been inconsistent this season as they played well against Texans and Ravens but struggled against the Titans and Ravens. The Jags are in a three-way tie for first in the AFC South.
Bell Shines in Steelers Blowout Win
The Pittsburgh Steelers played stifling defense in their solid 26-9 divisional road win over the Baltimore Ravens last Sunday. Ben Roethlisberger was solid, completing 18 of 30 passes for 216 yards with two touchdowns against one interception. The 35-year old quarterback has been efficient, however, he has yet to play to his full potential. He has tallied 957 passing yards with a 6:2 TD to INT ratio. Le’Veon Bell exploded for 144 yards and two touchdowns in his best performance of the season in the win last week. The 25-year old star running back was quiet for his standards in his first three games and has now collected 324 rushing yards with three touchdowns. Antonio Brown was kept in check by the Ravens defense, making three catches for 34 yards. Overall the 29-year old receiver is having another terrific season, accumulating a team-leading 388 yards, good for second in the NFL. The Steelers rebounded nicely after their disappointing loss to the Bears in week three.
The Steelers defense was outstanding in the win against the Ravens, allowing only 288 yards and made two interceptions. Cameron Heyward was in beast mode, making two sacks and has now tallied three sacks on the year. The Steelers defense has been tremendous this season and rank near the top of the NFL in most defensive categories. They now sit in first place in the AFC North.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are:
- 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games in week five.
- 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games after recording more than 150 rushing yards in their previous game.
- 19-44-2 ATS in their last 65 games after allowing more than 350 total yards in their previous game.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are:
- 7-1-1 ATS in their last 9 games after accumulating more than 150 rushing yards in their previous game.
- 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games in week five.
- 12-5-1 ATS in their last 17 games in October.
I am taking the Steelers in this matchup. The Jaguars rush defense ranks last in the NFL allowing an average of 165.5 rushing yards per game, so I expect Le’Veon Bell who rushed for 144 yards last week to have a huge game. Furthermore, the Steelers defense has been tremendous, conceding an average of only 14.8 points per game, and they are facing the inconsistent Blake Bortles, or possibly backup Chad Henne. Jacksonville allowed 471 total yards in their loss to the Jets last week, so I expect the Steelers to score big points in this one.
Pick: Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers offense broke through with 26 points last week and Jacksonville has also been productive offensively. Look for a huge game from Le’Veon Bell and against a weak Jaguars rush defense, plus the over is 6-1 in the Jaguars last seven games in October. The Jaguars should also have some success offensively led by Leonard Fournette, and the over is 5-1 in their last 6 games in week five.