Jaguars paying no mind to Patriots chatter from Steelers
The Jacksonville Jaguars will be in Pennsylvania on Sunday for a stern test in the AFC Divisional Round against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Jaguars are not being given much of a chance by the experts and pundits to score an upset at Heinz Field. It would seem that at least some Steelers may feel the same way.
Steelers safety Mike Mitchell all but guaranteed a rematch of last year’s AFC Championship Game against the New England Patriots, saying, “We’re going to play [the Patriots] again. … We’re gonna win.”
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin also appeared to be looking ahead to a postseason showdown against the Patriots ahead of the teams’ game in December.
Given the tone of some chatter from the Steelers, the perception is Pittsburgh views Jacksonville as nothing more than a speed bump on the way to another berth in the AFC title game. Jaguars players who were asked about possibly taking offense to such a notion blew it off.
“It’s one of those things, like, who cares?” defensive tackle Malik Jackson said, via ESPN. “If you want to look forward in front of the Patriots, that’s cool, you know, but if we smack you in the mouth and you’re not playing them, what’s all that going to do for you?
“It’s one of those things that we understand. We know we’re playing the Pittsburgh Steelers and that’s what we’re focused on and, hey, we’ll see what happens.”
Jags safety Barry Church shared similar sentiments.
“I mean, that’s on them,” Church said. “If that’s how they choose to come into a playoff game, that’s on them. It’s not going to affect us. We’re just going to go out there and play our game and hopefully come home with a W.”
Tomlin was asked about Mitchell’s comments during a conference call this week with the Jacksonville media. He downplayed them, as did Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette.
“That doesn’t have anything to do with me or us,” Fournette said. “I feel like that’s just how he feels. We’re focused on this game.”