What: Jacksonville Jaguars (2-2) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-1)
Where: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Pa.
When: 1 p.m.
Latest Line/over-under: Jaguars +7.5/42.5
Why you should watch
The Jaguars will go into this game tied for first place in the AFC South with the Titans and Texans but in a lot of ways they’re still trying to find themselves. They still aren’t sure just how to make the best use of running back Leonard Fournette and as a result they’re still a little too reliant on quarterback Blake Bortles, who remains quite erratic. The Steelers are still considered one of the league’s traditional powers, a legitimate playoff and Super Bowl contender. As a result, this game will tell us a lot about where the Jaguars are in their development. Are they really ready to contend for a playoff berth after going 3-13 last year. This game will go a long way toward answering that question.
Key on: Steelers RB Le’Veon Bell
This goes double for the Jaguars, who have been far too forgiving against the run this year. They’ll go into this game ranked last in the league in that discipline, allowing an unsightly 165.5 yards per game and an astonishing 5.7 yards per carry. Stopping Bell, whose 324 rushing yards are the fourth most in the league, is never easy but the Jaguars can get that done if they play with more gap discipline. Coach Doug Marrone noted that the biggest problem the Jaguars have had here is maintain gap integrity. If that continues the Jaguars are sunk, because Bell is a very patient runner who excels at finding holes in the defense and bursting through them for large gains. The Jaguars are good enough to stop Bell but they have to play smart to do it.
The Jaguars got their offense rolling in London a couple weeks back when they opted to make greater use of tight end Marcedes Lewis. It shouldn’t come as that much of a surprise that Lewis provided the much-needed spark. Lewis is known mostly for his blocking ability but he’s a solid all-around tight end who is also one of the most reliable pass catchers at his position. Since the start of last season, Lewis has not dropped a pass while catching 24 for 231 yards and four touchdowns. Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles has had a hard time staying in rhythm this year. It would probably help him immensely if he was allowed to make more regular use of a sure-fire target such as Lewis.