The Pittsburgh Steelers have established themselves as one of the best teams in the NFL, as for the first time in the franchise's 87-year history, they are undefeated through nine games. They are the only remaining undefeated team in the league, as Pittsburgh's defense has been one of the best in the NFL, and Ben Roethlisberger has quickly established chemistry with some of his young weapons such as Chase Claypool and Diontae Johnson. While the Steelers appear to have a chance to go 16-0 this year, head coach Mike Tomlin is making sure to take every game seriously -- no matter the opponent's record.
The Steelers are set take on the Jaguars in Jacksonville this week, who are a one-win team that is being led by rookie quarterback Jake Luton. Despite this, they have been competitive over the past few weeks, so some have labeled this contest as a "trap game" for the undefeated Steelers. Tomlin emphasized to reporters on Tuesday that there is no such thing as a trap game in the NFL, since every team has the ability to win each week no matter who they are facing.
"We are not a Big Ten team playing a MAC opponent this week," Tomlin said, via NFL.com. "(The Jaguars are) a group trying to kick our butt."
While the Jaguars are 0-2 with Luton under center, Jacksonville has actually covered the spread in each of its last two games. They lost by just two points against the Houston Texans in Week 9, and then lost by four points to the Green Bay Packers despite being double-digit underdogs. At the very least, this team has proven that they can keep games close.
If the Steelers were actually worried about a "trap game," it probably would have been their Week 10 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals. Joe Burrow and Co. were coming off of a bye, and blew out the Tennessee Titans by 11 points in Week 8. Many were betting on the Bengals to cover the seven-point spread, but the Steelers had no problem with their divisional rivals, downing them by a score of 36-10. Pittsburgh's defense forced two turnovers and the offense accomplished everything they wanted to. Roethlisberger completed 27 of 46 passes for 333 yards and four touchdowns, while JuJu Smith-Schuster, Johnson and Claypool all had big days in the receiving game.
You'll probably be hard-pressed to find anyone claiming that the Jaguars are going to hand the Steelers their first loss of the season this Sunday, but it's a good thing Tomlin and his team are not sleeping on any opponent they face.