Lolley: Truth will be told

Throw out the wins over New England and Philadelphia and what does the Steelers' season look like? <br><br> OK. I know, you can't do things that way. But just for argument's sake, let's do it.

While the 8-1 record is still impressive, it's not nearly as much as it is with those wins over the Patriots and Eagles. And the only loss on that schedule is to the only team with a winning record.

That's why Sunday night's game in Jacksonville could go a long way toward defining this Steelers team - even more so than the wins over the Patriots and Eagles.


First of all, both of those wins were at Heinz Field and it is extremely difficult to defeat a good team on its home field.

And yes, the Steelers are a good team. But are they a great one?

They have been less than impressive in coasting to wins over the Browns, Bengals and Redskins - oh my - since whipping the Patriots and Eagles, showing some chinks in their collective armor.

The Jaguars aren't a great team by any stretch of the imagination, but they are good enough to beat the Steelers if they walk onto the field at ALLTELL Stadium with anything less than their A game.

That's why this week we will find out if the Steelers did, in fact, peak too early in this season, or if they are truly a contender for the AFC crown.

They don't necessarily have to win Sunday night. The Jaguars figure to be riding sky high for this game - a prime time contest on their home field in which the team is celebrating its 10th season - but they also cannot come out and slog through another snoozer.
  • This is the week to take the kid gloves off of Ben Roethlisberger and let him throw the ball.

    The Jaguars give up 231 yards per game through the air and 106 on the ground.

    Plus, whichever receiver gets locked up one-on-one with Dewayne Washington had better be able to get open consistently. The guess here is that it will be Plaxico Burress - assuming his hamstring isn't still bothering him. If not, Antwaan Randle El should also be able to beat Washington.

    But the Steelers have to keep Lee Mays off the field.

    I wouldn't be surprised to see more max-protect, with only two or three receivers running patterns and everybody else staying in to pass block to account for the different blitzes the Steelers have seen in recent weeks.

  • Keep an eye on Sunday's Chargers-Broncos game. If the Chargers win, they have the inside track to winning the AFC West, but still have difficult games at Indianapolis and at home Kansas City remaining on the schedule.

    While the Broncos also have to play the Chiefs and Colts, they would all but lock up the division title having already beaten the Chargers earlier this season.

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