JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As important as the Jaguars London win over the Ravens was for the season, Sunday’s road game in Pittsburgh may be the most vital game of the season.
After losing to a team they should have beaten, the Jets, the Jaguars must now beat a team they probably shouldn’t, the Steelers, to avoid a losing record for the first time this year.
“I think we’re at a turning point in the season where we can take off and let it motivate us, or we don’t step up to the challenge. I think we definitely will,” said linebacker Myles Jack. Going up to Pittsburgh, I feel like this is a really big game for us. To go in there and get a win there would be very big for the confidence of this team.”
The Jaguars are trying to make the case that this is a different team than the past. The team hasn’t started a season 3-2 since 2010, when they reached that record thanks to a 36-26 road win at the Bills thanks, in part, to a pair of Marcedes Lewis touchdown catches.
That Bills team ended the season 4-12. The Steelers figure to offer a tougher test. Pittsburgh has started the season 3-1, with their only loss coming in overtime in Chicago. Last week, they beat the Ravens 26-9.
“We know we’re going into a hostile environment in Pittsburgh,” said special teams captain Arrelious Benn. They’re a great team. We’re going to be ready to get a ‘W’ for us.”
In the overtime loss to the Jets, the Jaguars found themselves in a close game for the first time this year. There are several areas the Jaguars need to improve upon in order to have a chance in Pittsburgh. Among them, they Jaguars need to show that they can win close games, a necessity for contending teams.
“It’s a big week. It would have been nice to have a ‘W’ going into this game,” said defensive captain Malik Jackson. "We have a tough Pittsburgh team we’re going up north to. It should be a real physical game.”
In Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, the Jaguars will face, perhaps, the best quarterback they will see all year—they also are scheduled to face Phillip Rivers of the Chargers in November and the Seahawks Russell Wilson in December. In total, the Steelers may well be the best team the Jaguars face in the 2017 season.
“This is a team that is known to make deep playoff runs. If we really want to measure how far we can go this year, this is definitely a team to measure ourselves against,” defensive tackle Abry Jones said. “To get a win would be a major confidence boost.”