Ten years and one week after they achieved a postseason triumph in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the Jacksonville Jaguars are back at Heinz Field for a divisional-round contest on Sunday.
In their last playoff appearance, the Jaguars went into Heinz Field and knocked off the Steelers on a Josh Scobee 25-yard field goal with 37 seconds left.
The major contributors on both sides have changed significantly since the 31-29 Jaguars wild-card victory on January 5, 2008, with Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger being the only holdover.
Jacksonville has experienced success in Pittsburgh this season as well, with a Week 5 30-9 win boosting their confidence going into Sunday, but the Steelers are ready to prove that game was nothing more than a fluke.
Date: Sunday, January 14
Time: 1:05 p.m. ET
All available tickets for Jaguars vs. Steelers can be found here on Stubhub.
Will Antonio Brown Have Same Success He Did in Week 5?
Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown had one of his best games of the season against the Jaguars despite quarterback Ben Roethlisberger throwing five interceptions.
Brown, who was declared healthy for Sunday's contest earlier in the week, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, put up 157 receiving yards on 10 catches in a game in which he was targeted 19 times, which was his season high in targets.
The dynamic 29-year-old wideout eclipsed the 100-yard barrier on seven occasions in the regular season, with five performances over 150 yards, including a 213-yard output against the Baltimore Ravens on December 10.
Brown's staggering numbers have come while JuJu Smith-Schuster has developed into a reliable target in his rookie season.
The Pittsburgh receivers put together the highest number of receiving yards among duos in the NFL, and their opponents on Sunday, Jalen Ramsey and A.J Bouye, had the best combined passer rating of cornerback duos, per NFL Network's Aditi Kinkhabwala.
Ramsey recognized just how much of a challenge defending Brown will be for the second time this season, per John Reid of the Florida Times-Union:
"Great opportunity to see what I can do," Ramsey said. "He's an elite player, you know highly regarded by everybody honestly around the nation, maybe internationally. So yes, it's going to be a challenge. We're going have to be on our Ps and Qs and try to execute the game plan the best we can."
The second-year player out of Florida State may not be lined up against Brown on every play, but when he is, he can't give the Steelers playmaker any room to work in.
Jacksonville will enter Sunday's game with confidence because of its performance against the Buffalo Bills in the wild-card round and based off Week 5's result at Heinz Field, but the postseason is a different animal few on the roster have experienced.
Not only does Brown boast a bevy of impressive regular-season tallies, he has a strong postseason track record as well. In nine postseason games, Brown totaled 705 receiving yards, and he averaged over 100 yards per matchup in the playoffs last season as the Steelers advanced to the AFC Championship Game before falling to the New England Patriots.
If the Steelers want to force a rematch with their nemesis from the AFC East, Brown will have to record similar totals.
Conversely, if the Jaguars are able to limit his production on his return from injury, the Jaguars could have a chance at winning their second postseason game in Pittsburgh.
How Much of the Load Will Fournette Have to Carry?
Running backs Maurice Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor were vital parts of Jacksonville's last playoff win in Pittsburgh, and its current backfield workhorse is expected to play a major role on Sunday.
Rookie Leonard Fournette recorded his best performance of the regular season in the win over the Steelers in Week 5, as he totaled 181 yards and the only multiple-touchdown showing of his young professional career.
Pittsburgh is hoping it can bottle up Fournette on Sunday and hold him to a reasonable total like Buffalo did in the wild-card round. The Bills limited the rookie to 57 yards on 21 carries.
There's no doubt Fournette will have the ball in his hands plenty on Sunday given the concern about how reliable quarterback Blake Bortles can be.
Including the wild-card victory over the Bills, Fournette averaged 15.8 rushing attempts per game, and he's carried the ball over 20 times on eight occasions.
Expect the Jaguars to feed Fournette as much as possible on Sunday not only because he's been a reliable player in the backfield, but because it will keep the ball out of the Steelers' hands.
In an ideal situation, Fournette will receive 20-25 carries, extend the Jaguars drives over half a quarter and keep Bortles from making plays with his arm. Bortles said he'd support that strategy if successful, per ESPN's Michael DiRocco.
However, the Steelers aren't going to let Fournette run all over them again. The defense hasn't forgotten the total the rookie out of LSU, who specifically challenged the Steelers on one run with a hand gesture motioning them to come tackle him, put up on it, and it is determined to limit his playmaking ability.
"We're more bitter about letting him run for a hundred and whatever yards it was in that game than anything about that," Steelers linebacker T.J.Watt said, per Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk. "We have a bad taste in our mouth and we want to wash it out with a good performance on Sunday."
If Fournette hovers around the 100-yard mark and Jacksonville wins the time of possession battle, it could be on its way to the AFC Championship Game. Anything less would mean the Steelers found a way to shut down Fournette and limit his impact on the contest.
Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.
Statistics obtained from ESPN.com.
Odds obtained from Oddsshark.com.