Inside The Knox Score: Jaguars at Steelers

This is another deadly double-digit spread. Did you know that double-digit underdogs are 22-6-2 in the last 30 games there has been a double-digit NFL spread. That stat is astounding regardless of the overall records of any teams , it proves that parity is still strong in the NFL. This game opened at -13 in favor of the Steelers and has moved only a bit to -12.5. The total has risen a bit up from 39 points to 40.5. Before I even started reviewing the stats breakdown and matchups for this game, my memory is telling me that Jacksonvile covers in this game.  A spread that high with a total that low is a red flag on either side of the spread. Either the books think the Jaguars are getting smoked and not scoring much or they’re duping us. 27-13 would be the most common outcome in my immediate gut reactions to this combo of totals and spread in order for Pittsburgh to cover. The public by the way is at 89% for the Steelers. The bookies are still open and doing great business because the house always wins. If it looks to good to be true, it probably is. So let’s take a closer look to see why I think the Jags stay within the 12.5 points.

Trends

The Steelers are 5-0 ATS in last 5 home games, but are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games after a straight-up win. The Steelers are 6-14 ATS in games they are favored by more than 10 points. That last one is the kicker. The Jaguars on the other hand are only 2-10 ATS against teams with a winning record. They are also 5-2 in their last 7 games when they allow 90 rush yards or less. They have the 10th best rush defense in football this year and this game is on grass!!! And finally, the Jags are 10-4 ATS in head-to-head meetings between these two teams.

Pittsburgh Offense vs Jaguars Defense

Big Ben had a huge game last week tossing 5 TDS for a career-high and Wallace can hurt any team deep on any given play, yes he’s that fast. The offensive-line however has issues and this will be the sixth combination they have played with this season, which may lead to some mental mistakes in the form of false-starts that killed them against the Texans. Del Rio seems to have a knack for dealing with this team and has shown he is the only coach to get a game-plan together that has slowed down Cam Newton. The Jags boast the leagues 10th best run and 10th best pass defenses. The Jags could have closed their game out last week against the Bengals had it not been for the recently cut Matt Turk’s 22 yard gaffe punt. That punt started Cincy off in scoring position and led them to victory. The Steelers have Mendenhall back, but he’s slowed and I expect we will still see some Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman in this game to mix it up. Hines Ward should be open often in this game with the Jags rolling their defense towards Mike Wallace. The Steelers should move the ball in the air against this 4-3 defense, but need to avoid costly mental errors.

Jaguars Offense vs Steelers Defense

Much has been made of the Steelers holding Chris Johnson to just 51 yards last week, but the Titans rush offense is awful this year and Johnson isn’t a down-hill runner in the style of Jones-Drew for Jaksonville. Jones-Drew is much more physical and still quick enough to get to the edge against the Steelers defense. The match-up problem here may be in the passing game. Gabbert is young and learning and with Polamalu stalking footballs the only safe throws for Blaine Gabbert will be very short under the zone drop-offs. If he is smart enough to check down and they can avoid 3rd and longs as often as possible, they can milk some clock and quite possibly stay in the game. They should try to use Jones-Drew all day including out on screens to keep the Time of Possession in their favor, if possible.

Fantasy & Game Prediction

Look I don’t think the Jaguars are winning this game, but I also don’t feel that they are getting crushed. If they manage to keep it close through the half and pound the ball with Jones-Drew as often as possible, they can move the chains a bit and keep it within the spread. The Steelers just have to get out of their own way to win this game. Big Ben will not throw 5 TDS in a one-dimensional offense and Jax has enough in their 4-3 with Posluszny in the middle to slow things down a bit. Expect Wallace to get his big one again and the bulk of the catches to go the way of Heath Miller and Hines Ward, but I’;m capping Roethlisberger’s yards at 235 with 2TDS/1INT. Gabbert will be in trouble if he has 3rd and longs but I say Jones-Drew can get to the 85-90 yards marker in this game and add an additional 40 yards on catches.

Pick: Steelers win 24-13, but fail to cover the spread and the under wins it below the booked total of 40.5

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Comments
2 Responses to “Inside The Knox Score: Jaguars at Steelers”
  1. footballnutz17 says:

    Dude that’s a crazy amount of writing, how do you manage?

    Thank you SO MUCH dude, I just sub’d to your blog, will not be disappointing! Also, I followed you on Twitter (I’m @TheSportzGuru)

    I will put your blog in my blogroll in a sec

    I also agree with you, Pitt will win but Jac will stay close

  2. J.B. Knox says:

    Thanks for the follow SportzGuru. The writing is the hard part I guess, but the knwoledfge is mostly in my head. Ive been handicappng football for almost 21 years now and I love it!!! We will most certainly add you tour list of blogs we promote as soon as we re-design and upgrade our page.

    Enjoy the games tomorrow

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