The Jacksonville Jaguars (0-2) will host the Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0) on Saturday in a preseason matchup in Week 2. This will be the third game for the Jaguars who played in the Hall of Fame Game and the second for the Steelers.
Steelers QB depth impressive in openerThe Steelers went 9-7-1 in the 2021 regular season before losing to the Chiefs 42-21 in the first round of the playoffs. Pittsburgh now begins a new era this season after the retirement of their future Hall of Fame quarterback and 2004 First Round Draft pick Ben Roethlisberger.
Mitch Trubisky got the start in the Steelers' 32-25 opening preseason win against the Seahawks, but all three quarterbacks were impressive as the Steelers picked up 409 total yards. Trubisky went 4 for 7 with a touchdown, 63 yards passing, and a touchdown, and was not sacked. Mason Rudolph went 9 for 15 for 93 yards with a touchdown, and rookie Kenny Pickett went 13 for 15 for 95 yards with a touchdown and was sacked twice but ran for 16 yards. As a team, the Steelers rushed for 6.9 yards per carry and 185 yards. Anthony McFarland had seven carries for a team-best 56 yards.
Gunner Olszewski caught the game's first touchdown pass from Tribuskiy to put the Steelers up 7-0, and George Pickens, a rookie second-round pick out of Georgia, caught a touchdown pass from Rudolph to put the Steelers up 14-0 in the first quarter.
With the game tied at 25-25, Pickett, a first-round pick out of Pittsburgh, led the team on a 43-yard drive and a game-winning touchdown pass on a 24-yard strike to Tyler Vaughns with just three seconds to play.
Jags showed promise early against ClevelandThe games don't technically count yet, but after two preseason games, the Jacksonville Jaguars' record on the surface is not promising that this team is better than the one that went 3-14 during the 2021 regular season. The Jags opened up with a 27-11 loss to the Raiders in the Hall of Fame game and followed that up with a 24-13 loss at home to the Browns last week. There were however more positive takeaways from the Cleveland game, as the Jacksonville first unit shined, both offensively and defensively.
See y'all Saturday 🔒 pic.twitter.com/qQGiNROKYl— Jacksonville Jaguars (@Jaguars) August 15, 2022
After not playing against Las Vegas, quarterback Trevor Lawrence went 6 for 12 with 95 yards and a touchdown. The Jags' other 2021 first-round pick, running back Travis Etienne Jr. also made his preseason debut rushing for 23 yards on nine carries. Jacksonville grabbed a 13-0 lead on a nine-yard touchdown pass from Lawrence to tight end Evan Engram with more than 14 minutes left in the second quarter. As the role of the backups increased, the Browns went on to score two touchdowns before halftime and outscored the Jags 10-0 in the third quarter to roll to the 13-point win.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
The Jags being favored against the Browns last week did not make sense to me, and this line is even more of a head-scratcher. I love the Steelers in this spot as much as I could love something in the preseason. Pittsburgh has won seven of its last nine games when they have been a preseason dog, and Mike Tomlin is 10-3 in his last 13 preseason games overall.
I think the Jags are getting way too much respect here due to Cleveland and a rusty Deshaun Watson struggling last week. Still, the Jags lost to Cleveland by 11 and lost to Las Vegas by 16 in the previous game. I have to back the Steelers here, who are deeper and have superior quarterback play after the first units come out.
Full-Game Total Pick
The Steelers combined for 57 points with the Seahawks last week, but I expect to see a lower-scoring game this time around. The Steelers are averaging 21.4 ppg in their last five preseason games, and the Jaguars are averaging just 18.4 ppg in their last five. Overall I don't trust the Jags offense to put up enough points here, as they went scoreless in the final 44 minutes against Cleveland.
I don't love the total as much as the side in this game, but I do like the under here.