In what should be a dandy of a defensive battle on Sunday, the surprisingly 3-1 Tennessee Titans will take on the inconsistent Pittsburgh Steelers. Both teams have had to endure their fair share of injuries already in this young season, and it will be interesting to see which teams can better overcome these losses in Week 5 action.
Though the AFC South was to be a two-horse race between powerhouses Baltimore, and the Steelers, the Titans are keen on refuting that notion. Despite losing top wide-receiver Kenny Britt for the season, quarterback Matt Hasselbeck has undergone a complete resurgence of sorts in his new surroundings in Tennessee. Hasselbeck has thrown for nearly 1200 yards in his first four starts, and has done this without a breakout game yet from star running back Chris Johnson.
The Steelers on the other hand are simply reeling. Always fixated around the league as a model franchise, and a beacon of success, Big Ben isn’t looking so big in front of that decimated offensive line. Magnifying their issues up front are key losses to solid running back Rashard Mendenhall, who is nursing a hamstring injury and though he’s listed as a game-time decision, is not expected to face the Titans. Pittsburgh is also depleted on defense, as they’ll be without the services of one of football’s most malicious tacklers in linebacker James Harrison. Harrison is the undisputed leader of that defense, and his loss could be devastating for an aging Steelers’ defensive corps that has already experienced struggles against the run.
Titans vs. Steelers Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Tennessee Titans +3 (+100)
@ Pittsburgh Steelers -3 (-120)
Over 39.5 (-110)
Under 39.5 (-110)
Betting odds taken from BetOnline.com <– CLICK, Deposit, Get $900 FREE!!!
Titans vs. Steelers Pick:
The undisputed key to this football game will be Tennessee’s running game, spearheaded by Chris Johnson, against a very questionable Steelers’ run defense. Though the Steelers, like Tennessee, possess one of the top defensive units in the NFL, the loss of James Harrison is simply irrecoverable. Chris Johnson is widely regarded as one of the premier backs in the league and despite his lackluster start to the season, showed signs of life last week against the Browns. You can bet ‘CJ2K’ will be chomping at the bit to run all over the Steelers after years of struggling mightily against them. Even more beneficial to their run game, the Titans and Johnson will receive key fullback Ahmard Hall back from suspension. Hall is a key blocker in their ground attack, and has played a massive role in Johnson’s success over the past few seasons. With Hall returning to the fold, look for a rapid ascension in Johnson’s rushing yards.
Pittsburgh has also had great difficulty protecting Ben Roethlisberger in the pocket, and with Tennessee’s defense that could prove to be problematic come Sunday. Keep in mind the last two times the Steelers made it all the way to the Super Bowl, they’ve missed the playoffs the following season. Not suggesting that this trend will continue, but don’t be shocked if the upstart Titans surprise a struggling Steelers squad in Pittsburgh. Expect a breakout game for Chris Johnson, and the rest of the Titans squad to play hard heading into a highly deserved bye week.