JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Any team in the playoff hunt in the second half of the season should be motivated, but the Pittsburgh Steelers have extra reason for motivation this week as they travel to Jacksonville to face the Jaguars.
Last year, the Jaguars beat the Steelers twice in Pittsburgh, becoming just the second team in history to do so--the other occurrence was in 2007 when the Jaguars pulled off the same trick. At 5-3-1, the Steelers are atop the AFC North division standings, and while the Jaguars are mired in a five-game losing streak, Jacksonville players are expecting the Steelers to come to town with a chip on their shoulder.
"Based on what we did to them last year, and they're probably thinking we're down and out and they're definitely licking their chops," defensive tackle Abry Jones said.
Last season, the Jaguars beat the Steelers 30-9 in Week 5, when they intercepted Steelers' quarterback Ben Roethlisberger five times. In the divisional round of the playoffs, the Jaguars returned to Heinz Field and won a shootout, 45-42. It's a game that players on both teams remember well which could add some additional fire to Sunday's matchup.
"I would, if I was them," defensive end Calais Campbell said. "Every year is different, but if it was me, I would have a little extra for them."
It will be interesting to see how many Terrible Towels there are in the stands Sunday. Steelers' fans usually travel well. You can find them in every state, and many fans in Pittsburgh plan travel to away games in November and December, based on warm weather games where they can escape the cold gray of late autumn and early winter in Pennsylvania.
"I’m sure there will be a ton," Jaguars' quarterback Mark Brunell said. "With their fans and the way they travel, I’m sure there will be a bunch of them. Regardless, it will be fun to play in front of our fans.”