On Sunday (10/29/23), the Jacksonville Jaguars face the Pittsburgh Steelers in a matchup between AFC playoff hopefuls. Get Jaguars Vs. Steelers predictions below and the latest betting odds. Also, find our best bet which is the Steelers +2.5.
Jacksonville Jaguars Vs. Pittsburgh Steelers Prediction
The Jaguars were a preseason darling for many, and after a close call against the Saints on Thursday Night Football, they now have a 5-2 record behind only the Chiefs in the AFC. The Steelers are also making some noise, however, as they’re 4-2 and keep finding ways to gut out close wins.
There has been some good luck mixed in, but much of that success is due to the strong coaching of Mike Tomlin. As an underdog, Tomlin is 57-31-4 ATS. making him the most profitable head coach in the NFL as an underdog over the past 20 years per Bet Labs. Here, we have yet another spot where he’s a home underdog.
The Steelers’ offense is maligned by many due to uncreative coaching from offensive coordinator Matt Canada, but is it possible they’re turning a corner? George Pickens is enjoying a second-year breakout into stardom while Diontae Johnson returned to the lineup last week.
After facing the elite defenses of the 49ers and Browns in the first two weeks of the season, Pickett is quietly averaging 7.5 yards per attempt over the past month. That would be a top-ten mark over the full season. This week, he faces a Jaguars defense that can be thrown on – they allow the second-most passing yards per game.
Pittsburgh, meanwhile, has an excellent pass defense that ranks seventh by both DVOA and EPA. That’s enormous against Trevor Lawrence and a passing offense that has quietly been inconsistent, ranking just 16th in EPA. Much of that is due to poor offensive line play that has hampered the team’s ability to push the ball downfield.
Ultimately, I have these teams power-rated very similarly, and I believe this game should be priced much closer to a pick ‘em. I’m happy to back Pittsburgh as a home underdog here and I expect T.J. Watt to make a key play late that will change momentum and help the Steelers secure a win.
Jacksonville Jaguars Vs. Pittsburgh Steelers Prediction: Steelers +2.5
Jacksonville Jaguars Vs. Pittsburgh Steelers Best Odds
The Jaguars are currently favored by 2.5 points on the road in this game, and the spread has been bouncing around all week. If you’re looking to bet the Steelers, I’d recommend seeing if you can find a +3, but I’d still back them at +2.5.
Jacksonville Jaguars Vs. Pittsburgh Steelers Key Injuries
The Jaguars are dealing with several notable injuries heading into this game. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence is expected to play, but his knee injury has been an issue in recent games. Offensive linemen Walker Little and Brandon Scherff are listed as questionable, as is elite cornerback Tyson Campbell.
The Steelers, meanwhile, got some excellent news with wide receiver Diontae Johnson returning to the lineup last week. Defensive tackle Cameron Heyward could be back soon, as well – he returned to practice on Thursday and the Steelers have a 21-day window to activate him from Injured Reserve.
Jacksonville Jaguars Vs. Pittsburgh Steelers Key Matchups
The Jaguars and Steelers are out to impressive winning records thanks to some big-time performances from key players. Let’s look at some of the key matchups that will determine the winner of this game.
Jaguars’ Offensive Line Vs. Steelers’ Defensive Line
If the Jaguars can escape Pittsburgh with a road win here, their offensive line has to come up big. It doesn’t help that offensive tackle Walker Little and guard Brandon Scherff are working through injuries, but even with those guys in the lineup, the Jaguars rank 29th in pass block win rate this season.
To compensate for the team’s poor offensive line, Trevor Lawrence is getting the ball out at an average of 2.51 seconds, which ranks sixth among 36 qualified passers. However, that limits the ability of the offense to work the ball downfield as Lawrence’s 10% attempt rate of 20+ yard throws ranks 22nd among qualified passers.
This will be another game where Lawrence has to get rid of the ball quickly. Pittsburgh has a game-wrecking pass-rushing duo with T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith who have combined for 55 pressures and 10 sacks per PFF. Watt, a former Defensive Player of the Year winner, can flip this game on its head at a moment’s notice.
WHAT CAN’T TJ WATT DO?! 🤯 pic.twitter.com/UozMkG22pq
— PFF (@PFF) October 22, 2023
George Pickens Vs. Jaguars’ Cornerbacks
The Steelers got Diontae Johnson back in the lineup on Sunday, which is huge for their offense, as it gives them a real one-two punch at wide receiver. George Pickens is breaking into a star wideout on the heels of two straight 100-yard games. He’s among the best downfield targets in the NFL, especially in contested catch situations.
The Jaguars have struggled mightily against the deep ball this season, allowing the third-most deep passing yards and the 11th-highest deep completion rate. If cornerback Tyson Campbell is out, that puts them in an even more precarious position against Pickens as a downfield receiver.
George Pickens Stats:
Steelers Losses (2):
8 catches, 61 yards, 0 Touchdowns
Steelers Wins (4):
19 catches, 439 yards, 2 touchdowns
FEED GEORGE PICKENS!! pic.twitter.com/wcYfV2UHaA
— Ryan Mohler (@MohlerFootball) October 26, 2023