NFL Spread: Jaguars at Steelers 2018 NFL Playoffs Odds
The line: Pittsburgh -7 (O/U: 41)
With temparatures rapidly dropping and snowfall in the Pittsburgh forecast this weekend, it will be interesting to see how much this line moves – if any – before kick. The line is already intriguing as Jacksonville emphatically proved it knows how to win in the Steel City, smoking the Steelers 30-9 on Oct.9. Why are the Steelers favored here and do they deserve to be? I’ll take a closer look at this game and reveal my pick.
Inside the numbers
It’s not hard to label this game as a battle of defenses. It is, and that’s what it shall be. That said, the Steelers have a seemingly large edge on the offensive side of the ball. Here’s a closer look at the relevant stats on these two squads:
- Pitt finished the regular season ranked 5th in total defense
- Jax finished the reuglar season ranked 2nd in total defense
- Pitt ranked 3rd in total offense
- Jax ranked 17th in total offense
- Pitt QB Ben Roethlisberger threw 5 INT’s in the two team’s first meeting
Quite simply, Pittsburgh is a passing offense (3rd in the NFL) going against a great passing defense (Jax ranked 2nd in stopping the pass). The first meeting was dominated by Jacksonville, but Roethlisberger seems to have turned over a new leaf in the second half of the season.
Meanwhile, Jacksonville has maintained its identity as a relentless defensive unit giving up just an FG to Buffalo in last week’s Wild Card win. Offensively, the Jaguars have been anemic of late – underscored during thier 10-point offensive output against the Bills. Things won’t get any easier against a Pittsburgh defense that has been one of the NFL’s best all season.
My gut feelings on this game are that I love Jacksonville’s defense and the psychological edge they’ll have from shutting Pittsburgh down earlier in the season. It’s hard to know exactly how the boys from Florida will handle the firgid temperatures, but freezing cold and prolific offense are rarely mentioned in the same breath.
That said, I really hate Jacksonville’s offense. The running game was a major strength for most of the year, but the Jags averaged just 104.3 ypg over their final three games – well off their season average of 141.4. Ultimately, this game will be won on field position and turnovers and yes, that sounds just like a pregame cliche from the broadcasting booth. Since trying to handicap which team will turn the ball over is virtually impossible in a given game, I’ll stick with solid logic and say that this game will be played in the teens with defense dominating on both sides.
Jacksonville won by 3 TD’s a few months ago and now they are underdogs? I can’t make sense of that, but I also can’t fully endorse the Jaguars here because I’m not sure how they’ll score points. The under is the play in this game, but I’ll also stake a half unit on the Jags plus 7. Bet now before the line moves!
Category : Sporting NewsMore articles...