Jacksonville's defense got in on the scoring mood as well by scoring on two of the five interceptions they forced Ben Roethlisberger to throw in the previous matchup. If they do in this game, Roethlisberger might have even easier passes to others. Some just, some not so just, but the only reason the scrutiny is so high is because the Jaguars are good as a whole. It wasn't just idle talk. This is where you want to be playing your best.
As if a divisional playoff game needed more hype, chatter from both the Steelers and Jaguars camps have ensured that the game will have an elevated level of intensity.
There is also one player who hasn't mentioned retirement who may actually do so. Of course, that's not the reality. Both teams will be playing with added intensity and energy given the comments said by the opposition, but the Jaguars can not expect Roethlisberger to be as poor as he was in October again.
"I could cry. It's exciting, really", fan Bella Basilio said as she teared up.
Although Roethlisberger has played better, he should still be wary of a dominant Jacksonville defense.
Leonard Fournette had his breakout game against the Steelers, with 181 yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries.
If the Steelers (13-3) can establish Bell early, it will open lanes for Roethlisberger to find his potent weapons outside in Brown, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Martavis Bryant. The Steelers [VIDEO] are 7.5-point favorites against the Jaguars. Jacksonville QB Blake Bortles one of only three QBs in National Football League history to run for more yards (88) than he passed (87) for in playoff victory, joining Michael Vick (2005) and Otto Graham (1950). "You want to go prove that it was a fluke or whatever it might be". I'm not disappointed at all right now. The fact it's against the Jaguars is coincidental.
"We made it to the Elite Eight, we're trying to get to the Final Four and we're trying to get to a chance to win it all", Brees said. "I'm going out to play this one and give it everything I have". Me either, but here we are.
"That game for our entire group was a watershed moment". We'll see if it pays off for him this weekend. They stuck together. They pulled together tighter.
Yet he never has been one to play the game timidly.
Ever wondered how Bortles' statistics compare to Super Bowl winning quarterbacks?
"He's confident in his ability and he's confident in his receivers", Heyward-Bey said.
Wide receiver Jaydon Mickens (hamstring) also was limited in practice for a second straight day, while the Jaguars downgraded linebacker Blair Brown (ankle), who was unable to practice Thursday after participating on a limited basis Wednesday.
What's worse, Stephon Tuitt, who was intent on "hunting" Fournette, is now dealing with an injury and may not play. LB Ryan Shazier, recovering from spine stabilization surgery, attended practice again in a wheelchair and hung out in the locker room after practice.