Mike Tomlin: 'We are not a Big Ten team playing a MAC opponent this week'
(Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
The Steelers face the 1-8 Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, a matchup that the 9-0 Steelers are currently listed as 10-point favorites for, according to Oddsshark.com. While the Jaguars are only a one-win team, they have played tough this year, losing five of their games by eight points or fewer. They are an opponent that Mike Tomlin won't let his team overlook, especially since they have a target on their backs every week being that they're the lone undefeated team remaining in the league.
As far as the trap game narrative used by many in the media and fans, Tomlin thinks that term is not fitting when it comes to professional football.
"We are not a Big Ten team playing a MAC opponent this week," Tomlin said Tuesday at his weekly press conference. "Every time we step into a stadium, we're playing professionals, players and coaches. We've got a ridiculous level of respect for that. Write your story, follow your storylines about trap games and things of that nature. We understand what we're going into in Jacksonville, that that's a group that's trying to kick our butt. A professional group, capable group, and we're preparing with that understanding."
The Jaguars lost by just four points, 24-20, to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday and forced three turnovers. The Packers are 7-2 on the season and are currently the No. 1 overall seed in the NFC. The Jaguars gave everything they got against one of the premier teams in the NFC.
"A significant component of their last matchup in Green Bay was their ability to get the ball," Tomlin said. "We all know Green Bay's ability to possess the ball. Green Bay, I think, is No. 1 in the NFL in safeguarding the football. They had some significant turnovers in that game, and that turnover element of play is something we need to be cognizant of as we head down to Jacksonville.
The Steelers have won their last three games against the Jaguars in Jacksonville, but they've won by just a combined 17 points.
"We've always had rough and tumble games with those guys down there. They always play really tough defense," Tomlin said.
If the Steelers have the type of game they had against the Cowboys in Dallas in Week 9, expect this meeting between the Steelers and Jaguars to be another close one.