Call it a hunch, but I anticipate that Belichick and the Patriots will focus on shutting down the run and force Mariota to beat them in the passing game.
Rookie running back Leonard Fournette piled up 1,040 rushing yards and had five 100-yard games, including 181 on 28 carries against the Steelers, but his last 100-yard effort was on December 10 against Seattle. Though David Garrard was better that season than Blake Bortles is right now, the teams almost mirrored each other offensively, the 2017 Jags have the edge on defense, and they're going to need it going up against one of the most explosive and risky offenses in the league. Chris Boswell has been clutch and rarely if ever misses a field goal attempt.
The rookie from LSU finished the year with 1,040 in just 13 games and will be the focal point of Jacksonville's offense on Sunday.
So just what did they do to the Steelers?
Unless your name is Tom Brady or Peyton Manning, you won't experience beating the Steelers twice in one season.
The Jaguars' defense is ranked in the top two during the regular season in scoring defense, total defense, takeaways and sacks.
Tomlin wasn't trying to diminish the Jaguars' regular-season accomplishments as a quarterback-smothering, ball-hawking defense. They lead the league in turnovers and have 23 total interceptions, including the wild card round.
In early episodes of The Good Place, Jacinto's character passes himself off as a Buddhist monk who has taken a vow of silence, but he is later revealed to be an incredibly dopey DJ from Jacksonville.
It's a formula that helped them reach the playoffs for the first time in a decade and one they used effectively - if not exactly glamorously - while outlasting Buffalo in the wild-card round last weekend. It's like, 'Hey, what do you like about him?' I say, 'He's tough, both mentally and physically'. DE Yannick Ngakoue and the Rams' DT Aaron Donald are only players in National Football League with at least 10 sacks (12 for Ngakoue) and five FF (6) ...
In the October 8 game, Fourrnette ran for 181 yards and two touchdowns, including a 90-yard TD late in the game.
Running back Le'Veon Bell still managed 25 touches in the first meeting, but just 15 of those were runs. It might be third-and-12, he might get 10 yards.
Over the next 11 games, Roethlisberger threw 22 TDs, just seven interceptions and had a QB rating of 102.7. But that option year is guaranteed only for injury. But Bell and Brown should step up this time, leaving Jags with surprising matchup challenge for the talented Jags secondary against up-and-coming TE Vance McDonald. They ran for 155 yards in a 10-3 victory against the Bills, but more than half of those came from Bortles. A lackluster offensive performance was mitigated by Jacksonville again showing up defensively.
-The Steelers had a surprise visitor at practice Wednesday. But it can't be understated that Pittsburgh's defense has given up over 100 rushing yards to each of its past three opponents, a direct result of Shazier's absence.
After the Steelers flipped on the film of that game, they should have had zero difficulty focusing on Jacksonville. "We know there's a lot at stake and I think everyone's put a lot into it".
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown (calf, illness) is questionable for Sunday's Divisional Round matchup with the Jacksonville Jaguars. That would be more of a concern in the Jaguars used running backs in the passing game or had a dominant pass catching tight end.