Jacksonville at Pittsburgh AFC Divisional Round Lines & Prediction

Posted by Rogelio Aguas on January 11, 2018 in

The Jacksonville Jaguars looked extremely wobbly in their wild card game against Buffalo last week, but they did just enough to earn a 10-3 win over the Bills and advance to the divisional round of the playoffs. Their next opponents, the Pittsburgh Steelers, finished the season with a 13-3 record and won the NFC North, and they have plenty of rest after their bye week. These two teams met back in Week Five, though, with the Jaguars delivering a 30-9 whipping of the Steelers on the road. Can the Jaguars find that mojo again? Or will the Steelers settle the Jaguars down and advance to the AFC Championship? Check out our AFC Divisional odds preview of this postseason matchup.

Jacksonville at Pittsburgh AFC Divisional Round Lines & Prediction

When: Sunday, January 14, 2018, 1:05pm ET
Where: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh
TV: CBS
Radio: Westwood One
Live Stream: NFL Live
AFC Divisional Odds: Pittsburgh (-7), O/U 40.5

Weather Forecast

  • Chance of Thunderstorm: -8°C/17°F
  • Humidity: 56%
  • Precipitation: 1%
  • Wind: 6 mph W
  • Cloud Cover: 61%
  • Type of Stadium: Open

Why should you bet on the Jaguars?

The Jaguars showed tremendous defense in that Week Five rout of Pittsburgh, picking off Ben Roethlisberger five times and leading Big Ben to conclude in a postgame press conference that it might be time for him to consider retirement. However, the Steelers have come on mightily since then. The Jaguar defense continues to be a swarming force, though, as they limited the Bills to a single field goal in that wild card win and sent Buffalo quarterback Tyrod Taylor to the trainer’s table, leaving Nathan Peterman to finish the game.

The problem for Jacksonville remains quarterback Blake Bortles. He had several stellar games during the season, but he threw four interceptions in his last two regular season games, and he looked so tight against Buffalo that he missed badly on several screen passes, trying to aim the ball instead of throwing it. He only threw the ball for 87 yards (and ran for 89 yards). He didn’t throw any interceptions, but he did have a pair of fumbles. Leonard Fournette could play a big role against Pittsburgh — he rumbled for 181 yards in that win. However, he only had 56 yards on 22 attempts against Buffalo. If you like the Jaguars, you see them getting back to their dominant offensive ways from the first half of the season and shutting down the Steeler attack again.

Why should you put your money on the Steelers?

This will mark Pittsburgh’s third straight appearance in the AFC divisional round of the postseason, as Roethlisberger has put those demons from Week Five behind him. He had 4,251 passing yards on the season, with 28 touchdowns and 14 interceptions — or just nine picks in the other 15 games that were not against Jacksonville. Tailback Le’Veon Bell gives the team true balance, gaining 1,291 yards on the season (although he had just 47 yards in that Week Five matchup). Antonio Brown ran wild against the Jaguars in that game, catching 10 passes for 157 yards. If his calf injury cooperates, he should do well — but check the injury report before finalizing your wager on this game.

The Pittsburgh defense tended to be a little porous in the second half of the season. However, they rank #5 against the pass and #10 against the run on the season in terms of yards permitted per game. If Bortles still has the yips against Pittsburgh this week, the Steelers have the weapons on defense to make him pay — and the weapons on offense to turn those turnovers into points.

Latest AFC Divisional Betting Trends

  • Jacksonville is 12-5 ATS in its last 17 games when playing Pittsburgh
  • Jacksonville is 8-3 SU in its last 11 games
  • The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Jacksonville’s last 6 games on the road
  • Pittsburgh is 1-5 ATS in its last 6 games
  • Pittsburgh is 10-1 SU in its last 11 games
  • The total has gone OVER in 5 of Pittsburgh’s last 7 games

Expert Pick and Final Score Prediction

It’s exciting to see Jacksonville return to the postseason and do well. However, as long as Bortles as their quarterback, there will be significant questions to answer as far as their offense goes — and while the defense could carry Jacksonville against Buffalo, I don’t see them doing it against Pittsburgh. I predict a final score of Pittsburgh 27, Jacksonville 13.