This very well could be a preview of this year’s AFC Championship game. Both the Tennessee Titans and Pittsburgh Steelers enter this game undefeated (1pm ET Sunday; TV: Live on CBS).
The Steelers are coming off a convincing beat down of the Browns while the Titans won a thrilling game against the Texans in overtime. The Titans scored with four seconds left to tie the game and Derrick Henry capped off the game with a five-yard touchdown run in overtime. Henry had a massive game in which he had 212 yards on the ground, two touchdowns, and 52 yards receiving on two receptions. It was a good day to be fantasy football owners with Henry in their lineups.
So how are the Tennessee Titans vs Pittsburgh Steelers predictions for this NFL game preview going to pan out? Read on to find out.
The Steelers have one of the best rushing defenses and the Titans have one of the best rushing offenses. This is a classic strength versus strength matchup. The Steelers rank second in the NFL and only give up on average 66.2 rushing yards per game. They were able to hold a vaunted Cleveland Browns running game to 75 rushing yards. Kareem Hunt was only able to muster 40 yards on the ground. In his two previous games he had 72 yards against the Colts and 71 against the Cowboys on only 11 carries.
The Titans rank 4th in the NFL in average rushing yards per game with 157.8 yards on average. Derrick Henry leads the NFL with 588 rushing yards in only five games. Which unit will be able to dominate come Sunday? I tend to lean towards the rushing defense being able to limit good teams on the ground. Expect the Steelers to crowd the line and make Ryan Tannehill beat them, which he is certainly capable of doing. Tannehill has 1,300 passing yards, 13 touchdowns, and only two interceptions so far this season. He is third in the NFL with a 113.5 passer rating. Can the Steelers pressure him enough to have him rattled and make mistakes? Before a resurgence last season in 12 games with the Titans he struggled mightily on the Dolphins. He had 75 interceptions in 88 games. With the Titans he has thrown eight interceptions and 35 touchdowns in 17 games.
Injuries to have an impact
One of the bigger injuries in this matchup comes on the offensive line for the Titans. They lost starting tackle Taylor Lewan for the season with a torn ACL. This could be the key to the game as the Steelers have had success getting to the quarterback. The Steelers lead the league with 24 sacks through five games. This could prove to be the key to the game. Expect the Steelers to commit to stopping the run and inevitably get to the quarterback and take Tannehill down. The Titans protect the quarterback well and only give up 1.2 sacks per game, but tackle Taylor Lewan was a huge part of that. Lewan had not allowed a sack and had not committed a penalty in their first five games.
This could prove to be a massive loss against the explosive pass rushing duo of Bud Dupree and TJ Watt. Dupree has 5.0 sacks and Watt has 4.5 sacks. Expect these two to disrupt the Titans offense, which has been the strength of the team thus far.
The Steelers are also dealing with a massive injury. Starting middle linebacker Devin Bush is out for the season and will undergo surgery to repair a torn ACL. Bush was the quarterback of their vaunted defense. He was second on the team with 26 tackles (16 solo tackles). This is devastating for a defensive unit that has been performing well. They had been only giving up an average of 18.8 points per game. Undrafted free agent Robert Spillane will be responsible for the monumental task of replacing Bush. I think the Steelers dominant pass rush will help to soften the blow of losing Bush.
There are a few other key injuries to keep an eye on. Steelers starting cornerback Mike Hilton is in doubt with a shoulder injury, starting center Mike Pouncey is questionable with a foot injury and starting guard David DeCastro is doubtful with an abdomen injury and missed last week’s game.
Our NFL Betting Preview’s Pittsburgh Steelers at Tennessee Titans Predictions & Picks Verdict
USAbetting is going to be rolling with the Pittsburgh Steelers on the moneyline with the recommended USA bookmakers for sports betting. We are going to put our trust in the Steelers’ defense and most notably the explosive pass rush, which has been able to take over games and get after the quarterback with ease. We think they will take advantage of starting tackle Taylor Lewan being out and try to exploit this by bringing extra pressure from that side.
We also think the Steelers have a few too many offensive weapons for the Titans to keep up with. Expect rookie Chase Claypool to maintain the impressive start to his career and JuJu Smith-Schuster to get going after a disappointing start to the season.
The Titans secondary has been one of the worst in the NFL in terms of average passing yards allowed per game. They give up on average 272.8 yards per game which ranks 28th in the league. The Titans give up 7.0 yards per pass, which ranks 27th in the NFL. I think the Steelers will be able to exploit this weakness with their stable of weapons and veteran quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who has been having a strong season thus far. So our Titans vs Steelers predictions betting pick is: