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JACKSONVILLE [url=http://www.buffalobillsteamonline.com/...hall-newhouse-jersey]Authentic Marshall Newhouse Jersey[/url] , Fla. — The Jacksonville Jaguars don’t have near the playoff experience as the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Jacksonville, though, has winning experience at Heinz Field.

The champions of the AFC South (Jaguars) and AFC North (Steelers) will meet Sunday in the divisional round with the winner advancing to the AFC Championship Game against Tennessee or New England on Jan. 21.

Jacksonville trounced Pittsburgh 30-9 on Oct. 8 at Heinz Field, forcing Steelers two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback Ben Roethlisberger into a career-worst five interceptions.

The Steelers (13-3) went on to win 10 of their last 11 games to secure the AFC’s second seed and first-round bye.

“We’ve evolved since then,” Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin said. “They have evolved a lot since then. (The first game) is a good physical reference in terms of the matchups. … I am sure that they are as different as we are since the last time we’ve seen them.”

The Jaguars are hoping that the evolution has been minimal, especially the passing game. Roethlisberger said last week he was hoping the Steelers would get to play the Jaguars.

Jacksonville All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey helped grant his wish with his interception in the final seconds to seal Jacksonville’s 10-3 victory over Buffalo in the wild-card round Sunday at EverBank Field. The win was Jacksonville’s first in the playoffs since the 2007 season, its last appearance.

The Jaguars (11-6) returned two Roethlisberger interceptions for touchdowns in the first meeting.

The 35-year-old Roethlisberger wondered “if he still has it” after the loss when meeting with reporters.

Ramsey said with the Bills game behind them, Big Ben’s comments about wanting a rematch have their attention.

“I’m sure it will be brought up a couple times this week,” Ramsey said. “I would want to play us again too. He threw five picks and was contemplating retirement saying whether he had it or not after playing us. They had a good season after our game. But, sometimes you have to be careful what you ask for. We’ll see Big Ben and the Steelers on Sunday. We’ll see what happens then.”

Ramsey intercepted a pass in the Pittsburgh win and deflected four passes. One breakup resulted in strong safety Barry Church intercepting a pass and returning it 51 yards for a touchdown.

Roethlisberger was quick to praise the Jaguars’ defense this week.

“This is one of the best defenses I’ve ever played against,” Roethlisberger said.

The Steelers finished the season ranked third in the NFL in passing yardage, with the Jaguars first in pass defense.

“They play to our strengths,” Ramsey said. “They think that passing is their strength. Defending the pass is our strength. Any team that tries to pass the ball on us 40 times hasn’t had success on us and I don’t think will have success on us. We have to grind this week though. They’re a good team coming off the bye. We’re going to have to have a great game plan and execute.”

Ramsey will be in the headlining matchup Sunday as he goes up against Steelers All-Pro receiver Antonio Brown, who caught 10 passes for 157 yards on 19 targets in the first meeting.

Brown injured his calf on Dec. 17, but is expected to play Sunday. The eighth-year veteran led the NFL in receiving yards this season with 1,533 (89 more than No. 2 Julio Jones), despite missing the final two games of the season.

Pittsburgh will also try to lean more on All-Pro running back Le’Veon Bell, who was held to 93 total yards in the first meeting.

“He’s not one-dimensional,” Jaguars coach Doug Marrone said. “It’s not like this guy is going to take the ball and run downhill and run you over every single time he takes it. He can do that. He can also get the ball outside. He has excellent patience. He has a really good understanding of the blocking scheme. He’s a natural catcher.”

The big question is how much will Pittsburgh really need to score? Jacksonville’s offense has been sluggish lately, scoring 20 total points in its last two outings combined.

Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles wasn’t effective in the first meeting. He completed 8-of-14 passes for 95 yards with no touchdowns and an interception for a 48.2 passer rating.

The Jaguars’ top-ranked run offense had one of its best days of the season, generating 231 yards. Rookie running back Leonard Fournette carried 28 times for 181 yards and two touchdowns, including a game-clinching 90-yard score.

“Hopefully, we can throw less,” Bortles said. “That would be awesome. Leonard goes off again and those guys up front play as well as they did last time, we can run the ball up there and not have to throw at all. It was something that happened last time, but you never know.”

A.J. Hinch took over as Houston’s manager before right-hander Lance McCullers’ rookie season in 2015 and the two have long held a special bond.

So when McCullers came off the mound after striking out a career-high in 12 in seven strong innings in an 11-4 win over the White Sox on Friday night, Hinch wanted to make sure he let his pitcher know how impressed he was with his big night.

He did that by enveloping him in a huge bear hug as soon as he reached the dugout when his work was done.

”I was so happy with the progress [url=http://www.carolinapanthersteamonline.com//marquis-haynes-jersey]Authentic Marquis Haynes Jersey[/url] ,” Hinch said. ”He’s got so many options now against any hitter. … I love the growth that’s happening for him as a major league starting pitcher. … He knows what he’s going through and how he’s taking steps forward. It’s cool to have a moment with him.”

Evan Gattis hit a three-run homer in Houston’s seven-run eighth to help the Astros to the victory.

McCullers (10-3) didn’t allow a hit until a single by Adam Engel with one out in the sixth, and gave up just three singles and one run. He kept the White Sox off balance with a flurry of curveballs to outdo his previous career best of 11 Ks.

”I came up in 2015 and was really just a young kid,” McCullers said. ”I had to learn a lot and he’s definitely been someone who has really helped me along the way in all phases as a pitcher, a baseball player and as a person. I give a lot of credit to A.J., the veterans, the staff.”

Chicago manager Rick Renteria raved about his curveball.

”His breaking ball today was sweeping with some depth,” he said. ”Strong breaking ball. It was a lot of breaking balls. Even going to the plate to be honest (and) looking for it, that thing was falling off the table pretty good.”

The Astros took a 1-0 lead in the third on an RBI single by Yuli Gurriel. Tim Federowicz hit a two-run double in the fourth to make it 3-0.

After Engel’s single in the sixth, Yoan Moncada sent him to third with a single to right field. The White Sox cut the lead to 3-1 with a third straight single, this one by Yolmer Sanchez. After a quick visit to the mound, McCullers was able to limit the damage when Jose Abreu grounded into a double play.

The Astros added a run in the seventh on an RBI double by Gattis to make it 4-1. They broke it open in the eighth inning thanks in part to the homer by Gattis, who finished with three hits and four RBIs. The towering shot off Hector Santiago landed on the train tracks atop left field. Two more runs scored in that inning on an error by right fielder Avisail Garcia when he misjudged a fly ball hit by Gurriel and it bounced behind him just inside the line and sailed into the stands.

Chicago starter Reynaldo Lopez (4-6) yielded six hits and three runs while tying a career high with five walks in 4 2/3 innings to snap a two-game winning streak.

McCullers won his fourth straight decision to join Charlie Morton as the first Houston pitchers to reach 10 wins this season.

He was tough from the start of this one, retiring the first six batters, including striking out the side in the second, before hitting Kevan Smith with a pitch to start the third. But he got right back on track, and struck out the next three to end the inning as part of 10 straight he sat down before Engel’s single in the sixth.

Garcia, whose career-best 14-game hitting streak was snapped Thursday night, hit a two-run homer with two outs in the ninth, and Daniel Palka followed with a solo shot off Brad Peacock.

TRAINER’S ROOM

White Sox: SS Tim Anderson was out of the lineup a night after being plunked on the left forearm. Anderson said he was sore but OK and Renteria expects him to return to the lineup Saturday.

Astros: Manager A.J. Hinch said he believes that C Brian McCann will return before the end of the regular season after he had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Tuesday. ”I do expect him back,” Hinch said. ”I don’t know when … and he’s got a lot of things he needs to do to get back to playing, but I absolutely expect him to be back.”

SPECIAL WIN

The Astros dedicated Friday’s victory to Cameron Gooch, a 10-year-old who is fighting cancer and attended the game as part of his wish from the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Gooch was helped to the mound by Hinch and Gattis to throw out the ceremonial first pitch and they both wore orange armbands he gave to them during the game.

UP NEXT

Morton (10-2, 2.55 ERA) opposes James Shields (3-9, 4.12) when the series continues Saturday. Morton took his second loss of the season in his last outing when he allowed six hits and two runs while striking out 11 in 6 2/3 innings against Tampa Bay. Shields yielded four hits and a run in 6 2/3 innings in his last start, but did not factor in the decision in a 5-3 loss to Cincinnati.


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    Quinton Dunbar Jersey
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