The Steelers go into Sunday's games against Jacksonville at TIAA Bank Field a team on the rise, winning their last five games, while the Jaguars have lost their last five after starting the season 3-1.
It's a game that features two teams that have a lot of respect for each other, and one that both sides know is going to be a physical battle.
"I just have a ton of respect for Pittsburgh," said Jaguars Coach Doug Marrone. "I always have. I think everyone that has played against them, and I have been facing those guys from 2002, where I am talking about some battles too and then the battles we had last year. It is always one of those games where after, when you are in the locker room you really can't say anything because you just put everything out on the line and it was physical. You know if you don't show up and you are not ready to play then they are going to knock you on your (butt)."
Marrone, as well as several of the Jaguars players, had more to say about the Steelers, including T.J. Watt, James Conner, Ben Roethlisberger and more.
Marrone on T.J. Watt being able to wreck a game plan:
"I think he is a guy you have to account for. [Bud] Dupree is playing well too. Both of the outside guys. They are getting good push inside. You have to be aware of them. He is a good rusher. He is technically very good, sound and he has the height, weight and speed to do that stuff. I believe he has eight sacks on the year, so he is doing a nice job. Dupree is coming in there and he has put a lot of pressure on the quarterback too. I think in the back end they are playing well and they are able to get pressure on the quarterback. It is a pretty good recipe for success. One that we have had and one that we have to get back to."
Defensive lineman Calais Campbell on the Steelers overall:
"This is arguably the most talented team in the NFL. And they are playing very good football right now. They have a Hall of Fame quarterback. A Hall of Fame receiver. An offensive line that has been playing together for so many years. They are smart. Real savvy. They open up a lot of lanes. A young running back who is taking advantage of his opportunities. They look really, really good on tape. When you look at them, it's like wow."
Linebacker Myles Jack on the Steelers offense:
"It's pretty much the same. Same team without Le'Veon. Antonio Brown is still doing his thing. JuJu Smith-Schuster is coming along. He has improved since his first year. They have another, James Washington, he is really good too. They are a very talented team. And with Big Ben (Roethlisberger) at quarterback. Another fun offense to play against this week. There is going to be a lot of action out there Sunday."
Marrone on if the game plan is any different with James Conner at running back:
"You would think that going in, but then all of a sudden when you look at the numbers – basically their offense is more efficient now than it is has been in the past couple years. You start trying to look at where it has changed. You see Antonio Brown still has his 10 touchdowns. Ju-Ju has a high amount of catches. The tight ends are involved. Ben is Ben. He is a great player and has been for all these years. You knew how much the focus was on that position for them. Are they going to get the same production? Conner is playing to a Pro Bowl level. I don't see the change as far as the production. I actually see better efficiency. I know the offensive coordinator up there has really done a nice job."
Quarterback Blake Bortles on expecting a physical game:
"Yes, no doubt. To beat this team, you have to dominate the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. It's a physical game. Whoever wins that physical battle up front is probably going to come out the winner of this game."
Campbell on the Steelers physical nature:
"They are maulers. Crunch play, crunch play, downhill physical football. With a lot of play action and some great receivers who can take the top off. It's one of those games where you have to come with discipline. They are maulers, but they want you to make a mistake and the running back will make you pay. Once you get out of your gap somebody makes one mistake and that's when it really hurts you."
Center Tyler Shatley on the defense:
"They blitz very well."
Marrone on the Steelers tight ends:
"There is always a concern with the tight ends from the scheme of things. It is tough when you look at it and you see one of the best wide receivers in football on one end. Another young, upcoming star on this end and then a running back that is playing well and a quarterback that has been doing it for all these years. You can go down the line. An offensive line that has played together for a long time. There are different guys and different things you have to look at, but they are part of it. They are a big part of it. We have to be able to – I think that is what makes it so difficult when you defend Pittsburgh – they have a bunch of good players out there. They have a Pro Bowl running back, potentially two Pro Bowl wide receivers, a Pro Bowl quarterback and some Pro Bowl offensive lineman. Then you look at the tight ends. Vance [McDonald] – I have known for a long time. We wanted to take him when I was in Buffalo. We were trying to take him. I did a lot on him. I know what type of player he is and obviously Jesse [James] is from Penn State, and I know the job that he has done. It is a challenge and that is why it is going to take all eleven guys to do the right thing, do their job, know their role to defend this team."
Jack on the Steelers tight ends:
"Those guys are very talented as well. Big guys who can make plays. It should be a challenge."
Shatley on playing a team that is hot like the Steelers:
"It requires us to be at our best. It's a challenge for us to see what we can do this week as far as preparation and then put it out on the field."
Jack on James Conner:
"James Conner has been as effective, he has been impactful for the offense. They haven't missed a beat. It will be the same offense."
Campbell on playing the Steelers:
"This is a team I have a lot of respect for."
Bortles on the Steelers in general:
"They're playing (well). They're having a good year thus far."
Campbell on if he thinks the Steelers will be more motivated because the Jaguars won both meetings last year:
"I would if I was them. We'll find out. It's some new players, teams are different. If it was me I would have a little something extra for them."
Jack on if he thinks the losses last year will motivate the Steelers more:
"I would imagine so. I think a lot of teams are having a get-back party against us."
Bortles on Steelers fans coming out in large numbers:
"I'm sure there will be a ton. It's a home game, we love to play in front of a home, sold-out crowd. With their fans and the way they travel, I'm sure there will be a bunch of them. Regardless, it will be fun to play in front of our fans."