SC's Marquee Matchup: Steelers vs Titans
Source: USA Today
This Sunday will feature two undefeated sides, The surprising 5-0 Pittsburgh Steelers and the equally surprising Tennessee Titans. This matchup was supposed to happen in Week 4 before a few Titans players tested positive for COVID, but lucky for us both teams have continued to roll on through the season as two of the best teams in the league.
Last year, Tennessee was one win away from going to the Superbowl and with Tannehill playing the best football of his career, it looks as though they may be posed to go all the way this year. The Steelers on the other hand would love to put 2019 behind them, and they absolutely have! Steelers vs Titans is this week’s marquee matchup.
Derrick Henry has been running wild so far this season. Despite a season low 57 yards rushing against the Bills in week 5, he responded with a 200 yard game against the Texans last week. The second time in his career he’s done so. Henry currently leads the league in rushing yards and first downs, and is also averaging 100 yards a game, but he'll be facing the 2nd best running defence in the league.
James Connor is also proving to be a credible number one running back. In three of the four games he’s played this season Connor has rushed for at least 100 yards. He's also averaged about 5 yards per carry (more than Derrick Henry). Connor has never rushed for 1000 yards in a season but that could change if he stays hot.
The secondary for both sides could have their hands full with all the receiver talent that is on display. With A.J. Brown back and healthy, Tannehill finally has his number one, but Jonnu Smith has become must-see tv as well. For the Steelers, "Mapletron" Chase Claypool has emerged in a big way and could help free up a slumping Juju.
It should be noted that for only the second time ever the Steelers have started 5-0. The last time they did it was in 1978 and won the Lombardi trophy. It should also be noted that the former 2-time Superbowl champion Ben Roethlisburger has turned the ball over just once this season while adding 11td’s. He’s having a stellar bounce-back season.
Big Ben is 5-3 Lifetime against the Titans, and his last loss to the team from Tennessee was Week 1 of the 2013 season. The offence only scored 9 points that game. Ryan Tannehill on the other hand is a perfect 2-0 lifetime against the Steelers. He's thrown 3 td's and one interception against the steel curtain, but in his last start against Pitt he failed to throw a TD pass. However, that was under Adam Gase’s watch in 2016 so we can forgive him.
The Steelers defensively on paper look to be the stronger team. If they stop Henry they should have it easy against Tennessee. Given the Titans inability to stop offences this season, it should give the Steelers the edge. 28-17 Steelers.