JACKSONVILLE – Each week during the 2023 season, Jaguars "experts" – Tony Boselli, Frank Frangie, Jeff Lageman, Brent Martineau, John Oehser, Brian Sexton, J.P. Shadrick and Kainani Stevens – will analyze the following day's Jaguars matchup.
Up this week:
The Pittsburgh Steelers at Acrisure Stadium in Pittsburgh, Pa.
Tony Boselli, Jaguars Analyst and Former Jaguars Left Tackle
- The Jaguars will win if: They can run and execute the short passing game. The Steelers have two really good pass rushers. To neutralize them, the Jaguars must make them defend on all three downs. If the offensive line protects, there are big plays to be made against a Steelers secondary that plays a ton of man.
- The Steelers will win if: They stop the run and force the Jaguars' offense to be pass-happy. The Steelers are at their best when outside linebackers T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith can pin their ears back and get after quarterbacks. The Steelers' defense will have to carry the day if they have a chance.
- As Boselli sees it: This is going to be a fun game to watch. The Jaguars have proven how tough they are physically and mentally, and they're facing a Steelers team that hangs their hat on being physical. Jags win, 24-17.
Frank Frangie, Radio Voice of the Jaguars
- The Jaguars will win if: They protect Lawrence against a very good Steelers pass rush. That is the key offensively. The Jags will make some yards on the ground and will get open, but they have to block Watt and Co. Defensively, they must take away the run and make Pickett beat them. Pickett is a young quarterback who has had some good late game moments, but he has struggled overall. Jaguars outside linebacker Josh Allen and Travon Walker could cause problems for the Steelers' pass protectors.
- The Steelers will win if: They get to Lawrence enough to disrupt the rhythm of the Jags' passing game. They are physical, particularly defensively. Offensively, they need a handful of big plays from Pickens.
- As Frangie sees it: The Jags have the better team. Pittsburgh plays with toughness and is good at home. The crowd will be a factor. But if the Jags protect Lawrence, I don't think the Steelers can score enough to keep up. Good pass protection means a Jags win.
Jeff Lageman, Jaguars Analyst and Former Jaguars Defensive End
- The Jaguars will win if: They protect the football in what could be wet conditions. The Steelers have not won this year when losing the turnover battle. The Jaguars offense must stay on schedule without negative plays or penalties to keep downs "manageable."
- The Steelers will win if: They find a rushing attack to combat the Jaguars' "bully ball" defense. Pickett is a young quarterback with two really good wide receivers that can be a major problem if a ground attack keeps the Jaguars' defense on its heels. The Pittsburgh faithful will also provide a tough environment for the Jaguars' offense and give Watt a silent count to rush the passer.
- As Lageman sees it: This is a great matchup of the old AFC Central foes that will be entertaining. Lawrence will have some opportunities to find his wide receivers if the protection can hold up. The Steelers play a bunch of man coverage that the Jaguars' receivers should be able to take advantage of. If the Jaguars defense can shut down a below average Pittsburgh running game, it should be able to frustrate the young quarterback Pickett into making mistakes. This Jaguars' defense of "HOPE" will be looking to have a response on gameday for Steelers wide receiver George Pickens as well.
Brent Martineau, Action Sports Jax Sports Director
- The Jaguars will win if: Running back Travis Etienne Jr. touches the ball 25 times or more. I think this is an Etienne game. The Steelers are 28th in the NFL against the run and Etienne should be fresh. He had 17 touches last Thursday night and this will be his only game in a 23-day stretch. If the Jags lean on their touchdown machine, they will win.
- The Steelers will win if: They sack Lawrence three times and force more than one turnover. Head Coach Doug Pederson gave us the secret during the week. The Steelers win when the numbers add up. The Jaguars need to protect their quarterback and the football on the road.
- As Martineau see it: The Jags are on a roll and know how to win on the road. The Jags are better than the Steelers. While that doesn't always win in the NFL, I like the Jags to win going into the bye week. Let's go with a 27-22 Jaguars victory.
John Oehser, jaguars.com Senior Writer
- The Jaguars will win if: They protect the ball and play error-free in the fourth quarter. The Jaguars haven't trailed in the second half during their current four-game winning streak. The Steelers thrive on turnovers and have rallied to win in the second half of each of their last two games.
- The Steelers will win if: They start quickly. The Steelers haven't been dominant in the first half this season, but they have been one of the NFL's best second-half teams. They also have one of the best edge tandems in the NFL in T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith. If they get ahead and get a raucous crowd into the game, this will be a tough test for a Jaguars offense that has struggled to protect Lawrence at times this season.
- As Oehser sees it: The Jaguars are hot and making plays late to win. If they win giveaway-takeaway Sunday, they should enter their Week 9 bye in firm control of the AFC South.
Brian Sexton, jaguars.com Senior Correspondent
- The Jaguars will win if: They convert third downs. The offense hasn't found a good tempo yet this season due largely to its inability to stay on the field. There are too many weapons for quarterback Trevor Lawrence for the offense to continue to look so out of rhythm. This isn't the Steelers defense we've come to know through the years. If the Jaguars stay on the field, they'll score and win.
- The Steelers will win if: They create turnovers and short fields for their offense. The Steelers defense has taken the ball away 12 times this season. With outside linebacker T.J. Watt and safety Minkah Fitzpatrick roaming the field, the threat is always present. The Jaguars have given it up 10 times through seven games, including seven fumbles.
- As Sexton sees it: The Jaguars are a better team and they're playing good football. They just navigated a really tough stretch with four consecutive victories. I like the matchup and think they have an excellent chance to keep the winning streak going if they protect the football and convert on third down.
J.P. Shadrick, jaguars.com Senior Reporter
- The Jaguars will win if: They continue to stuff the run and take the ball away on defense. These have been the hallmarks of the group so far, and this should be a week they can focus on getting pressure on Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett. Get two takeaways, and the Jags should win.
- The Steelers will win if: They protect the ball, force Lawrence into bad decisions and get pressure on the Jags quarterback. Watt can singlehandedly wreck a game, so make sure he is blocked, or blocked as well as you can, each time out.
- As Shadrick sees it: This is a turnover battle, with both defenses adept at turning the ball over. Whoever wins this battle should come away the winner in Week 8 in a game that could be big for seeding in the AFC playoffs.
Kainani Stevens, Jaguars.com Reporter
- The Jaguars will win if: The defense stays true to form and the offense scores early. It's always important to get an early lead in a hostile environment such as Acrisure Stadium. The Jags will also need to limit mistakes and not give the Steelers a short field on offense.
- The Steelers will win if: they can keep it close until the fourth quarter. Pickett has been phenomenal in the second half this season. If it's close and the Steelers can force a few turnovers, the Jags will be in trouble.
- As Stevens sees it: I think the winning streak hits five and the Jaguars go into the bye week 6-2. I expect a close game but ultimately Jacksonville comes out on top, 27-21.
Down to business.📍View the top photos from the Jacksonville Jaguars' Wednesday practice ahead of the NFL Regular Season Week 8 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers ➡️