In Week 4 the Steelers found some offense, specifically RB Le’Veon Bell. Bell rushed for 144 yards and two TDs on 35 carries. The defense held Baltimore under 300 total yards and forced them into three turnovers. The Steelers controlled the ball over ten minutes more than the Ravens did, and never surrendered the lead all game. They will look to keep things rolling this week against Jacksonville.
The Jacksonville Jaguars were involved in a wild, entertaining game against the Jets this past Sunday, but couldn’t quite pull it out as they lost in OT. They scratched and clawed their way back into the game late in the 4th, but a Chandler Catanzaro FG crushed their efforts in the OT period as time nearly expired. QB Blake Bortles struggled against the Jets defense, only throwing for 140 yards and posting a 52.1 passer rating. The defense couldn’t stop the run, giving up two long rushing TDs, and struggled in a pivotal 3rd quarter. Things won’t get any easier as they travel to Pittsburgh this week in a matchup versus the Steelers.
Bell is back
After a slow start to the season, Pittsburgh RB Le’Veon Bell bounced back in a big way against Baltimore in Week 4. He carried the ball 35 times for 144 yards and two TDs. He also added four catches for 42 yards in the receiving game as well. Bell will look to add to his season total, as he has must be licking his chops knowing he is facing Jacksonville’s run defense, which gives up 165.5 rushing yards per game – 32nd in the NFL.
Home field advantage
Every team loves to play at home, but few love it more than the Pittsburgh Steelers. Since 2015, the Steelers boast a 14-4 record at home, which ranks 2nd in the NFL behind the Seattle Seahawks. Just compare this to their road record, which is 13-10, and one can see how much of a home field advantage the Steelers actually have. Their fans will be excited and loud in this one, as they rally behind their team who is looking to move to 4-1 on the season.
Is there a worst starting QB in the NFL this season? Okay, Bortles might be better than some, but at least an argument can be made. Even though his TD to INT ratio doesn’t look all that bad, seven TDs to three INTs, he still is only completing 54% of his passes and only averaging 179 passing yards per game this season. He has a career passer rating of 79.7 and has consistently struggled with mechanical issues throughout his tenure. As good as the defense has been, along with the emergence of rookie RB Leonard Fournette, Bortles could be the piece that is holding this team back. It’s only a matter of time before his time runs out as the starting QB of this team.
Pittsburgh LB Ryan Shazier vs Jacksonville RB Leonard Fournette
The only way, and I mean only way, that Jacksonville has a chance to win this game is if they lean heavily on RB Leonard Fournette, early and often. The NFL’s 7th leading rusher has been impressive through his first four games, showing ability to run and even be a viable receiving option for QB Blake Bortles. It will be up to the Pittsburgh defense, led by LB Ryan Shazier, to stop the rookie. Shazier is 7th in the NFL in tackles, so look for him to be the one making big plays in this matchup.
Fantasy Football Tip- Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger
Here is my “dark horse” QB of the week. Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger has gotten off to a solid start for 2017, but has flown under the radar in many fantasy formats. He has historically been a much better QB at home than away, and even with this seasons small sample size, this remains true. He carries at 104.8 passer rating at home this season, in comparison to his 86.0 passer rating on the road. With all the weapons at his disposal, Roethlisberger is a threat to go off any week. I’m expecting a big performance out of him, even against a formidable Jaguars secondary.
Betting Tip- Pittsburgh (-8)
This is one of my favorite lines of the week. I would fully expect the betting public to lay off of the Steelers, due to the amount of points they have to give up, but do not be fooled. Pittsburgh is a completely different team at home than on the road, and with their defense playing at a high level, it will be hard for Jacksonville to stay within eight in this one. Since 2015, the Steelers are 9-5 against the spread as the home favorite, which is third best in the NFL in this category. Give the eight and take Pittsburgh in this matchup….you won’t be disappointed.
Prediction: Pittsburgh Steelers 37-10 Jacksonville Jaguars
Pittsburgh hasn’t looked “great” per se, but they have played well enough to be 3-1. Their defense is stingy and ranks 3rd in the NFL in total defense, while the offense can beat you in so many different ways. Jacksonville has been so inconstant with their performances week to week, and with QB Blake Bortles most likely having to play catch-up, I can’t see this ending well for the Jaguars. Big Ben and the offense will put up a lot of points, and the defense will completely stifle the Jacksonville offense. Steelers win big, 37-10.
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