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4 keys for Jaguars vs. Steelers

Jacksonville looks to snap five-game losing skid

Leonard Fournette #27 of the Jacksonville Jaguars dives into the end zone for a touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first half of the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Heinz Field on January 14, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Leonard Fournette #27 of the Jacksonville Jaguars dives into the end zone for a touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first half of the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Heinz Field on January 14, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Getty Images)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jaguars' season is on the line and it isn't yet Thanksgiving. Jacksonville is mired in a five-game losing streak, while the Steelers have won five straight. Here are my four keys for the Jaguars against Pittsburgh:

Defensive communication

The Jaguars had too many communication breakdowns in the first half last week against the Indianapolis Colts. In the second half, those communication issues seemed to evaporate as the Jaguars kept the Colts scoreless. There have been too many communication breakdowns this year for a defense with the ability to be a dominant unit. To beat the Steelers' high-powered offense, they can't afford to have coverage breakdowns. Steelers wide receivers Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Shuster can make you pay in a hurry.

Better Fournette

Leonard Fournette's return to the lineup last week made a difference in the Jaguars' offense. However, Fournette only ran for 2.2 yards per rush. He was more productive in the screen game, but against the Pittsburgh defense, he'll need to do more. It's no easy task. The Steelers are allowing only 90.8 rushing yards per game, fourth-best in the league.

Perfect kicking game

Last week, the Jaguars lost a 3-point game when they missed a field goal and had an extra point blocked. Before Sunday, Josh Lambo had not missed a kick all year. He can be excused for missing one from 52 yards, but as it turned out, it was the difference in the game. Both Lambo and punter Logan Cook will have to turn in big games for the Jaguars to win.

Hold on to the ball

The dagger of the loss to the Colts was Rashad Greene's fumble with 1:30 to play. The Jaguars were in position to tie or win the game at that point. It has been a bad year for Jaguars' pass catchers; Jacksonville leads the league in fumbles after catches. Sunday would be a perfect day to atone for past mistakes.


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