Coming from somewhere deep below the earth, it’s the midweek report/Titans v. Steelers preview presented by RJ Wentworth’s Bed Springs Plus. If you need a replacement spring, then slink on down to RJ Wentworth’s off of Highway 96, they’ll put the spring back into your life.
Here we are, Steelers week, a true test, and a season defining game. This will be the week when we see the Titans either take command and control their destiny, or fail and prove to be a paper tiger. As a fan, I am both hopeful and terrified of this game. Sometimes the Titans play up to their competition and surprise us, other times they get blown off the filed.
It appears that the team is fairly healthy this week. It has been noted that Marcus Mariota had a few things checked out, but he is good to go. Additionally, it has been reported that Quinton Spain will be back and Delanie Walker should be good to go. As for the Steelers, they are a little banged up. Joe Haden will be out for a while, and they have a few other injuries.
The Steelers have decent defensive. TJ Watt has been great and they have some solid playmakers. However, with that being said, the Titans should be able to throw the ball on them. The Steelers have been somewhat susceptible against the deep ball. The Colts had a few big plays against them, as have other teams. I would like to see the Titans do what they did last week against the Bengals. I thought that the first drive the Titans had was nearly perfect. I think if they can continue to have Mariota throw short to intermediate passes while occasionally using creative running plays with Addoree’ Jackson, then they can catch the Steelers off guard and score some points. The key really is execution and play calling. I think the Titans have the talent, they just have to put it all together.
Furthermore, I am interested to see how the offensive line does with Spain back. I think he is a great run blocker and an underrated player on this team. His addition may open up the power run game. At times without him the line was as effective as the Maginot Line. Thus, his return could be a major factor.
I am also interested to see how Corey Davis bounces back. So far his rookie year has been quite forgettable. Since he has been back from injury, everyone has been waiting for him to breakout, I am not sure it will happen here, but I do think they will try to use him a lot and go deep a few times. Hopefully it works.
Overall the offense has a big challenge this week. They are up against a good defense, but they are also facing a team that could offensively explode at any moment. Therefore, they are going to have to score a lot of points and cannot afford a 3rd quarter loll. I think they have to score at least 30 plus points to win this game, and honestly I am not confident they can do that.
For the past few weeks the defense has been playing over its head, and this week they will face their biggest challenge yet. Yes, I realize that the Steelers have not scored more than 30 points all year, however they have the potential to be one of, if not the best offenses in the league. I feel like they are in a similar situation as the Titans, in that they are waiting every week for the offense to finally put it together. My concern is that this could be the week that they put it all together because historically Titans are slump busters.
The Titans’ defensive line and the linebackers will have to be dominate in this game in order to stop Le’veon Bell. He is potentially the best runningback in the NFL. The defensive line lead by Jurrell Casey will have to control the line of scrimmage, while Avery Williamson and Wesley Woodyard will have to be electric if they want to contain Bell.
The secondary also has to be lights out. The Steelers have a plethora of offensive firepower, with talent such as: Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant, and rookie Juju Smith-Schuster. One would have to imagine that they will break a few big plays. I expect Logan Ryan to shadow Brown, and Jackson to cover Bryant or his old USC teammate Smith-Shuster. If the Titans can limit big plays then they will have a decent shot at containing the Steelers. If not, it could be the Houston game all over again.
This is a massive game. It is the biggest game of the season so far. I think it will be a measuring stick to see how good the Titans are. The Steelers have had some problems, but they are still one of the best teams in the AFC, and if the Titans go out and have a wet fart against them, then it may prove that the Titans are just an average AFC team that is not going anywhere this year.
I am hopeful that the Titans play up the way that they did against Seattle. If the offense can finally put it all together, then I think they have a decent shot, but if they are inconsistent, then I see no way they win.
However, a loss here is not the end of the world. After a short week going to Pittsburgh is a lot to ask a team, but if they get blown away, then it will be pretty demoralizing. I am hopeful, but honestly, I am expecting a loss here. I think the short week, and going to Pittsburgh may be too much for the young team. However, in the past the Titans have surprised me, and as they say, “Anything can happen on a Thursday night.” Therefore maybe I am cautiously optimistic.