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Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Tennessee Titans Preview and Predictions

The Pittsburgh Steelers will have something to prove this season; that they can win the AFC North and make an impact in the post-season without the likes of Le'Veon Bell and Antonio Brown. 

The Tennessee Titans finished 9-7 last season, and that was with a sub-standard season out of quarterback Marcus Mariota (11 TD's, 8 INT's). How well can they do if he really explodes this year? 

The Steelers and Titans will meet up on Sunday night at Nissan Stadium in Nashville. 

TV: 8 PM ET, NBC.  LINE: Titans -2.5.  O/U:  40

ABOUT THE STEELERS: Pittsburgh put forth an inspired defensive effort last week to beat the Kansas City Chiefs 17-7, in the wake of the death of wide receivers coach Darryl Drake. The battle for the backup quarterback job continues, as Mason Rudolph played "clean" (10 of 15, 77 yards), while Joshua Dobbs threw an interception. Dobbs is the guy who can make things happen with his feet, while Rudolph is more of a dropback type. Top receiver Juju Smith-Schuster (111 catches last year) is comfortable with either guy. "They’re always competing and doing the right things," he says. The competition will be decided in these next two games. But meanwhile, Ben Roethlisberger should play vs. the Titans, albeit briefly. Former star linebacker Ryan Shazier, whose career was cut short by a spinal injury, is among a growing legion of Devin Bush fans. And he's going to do whatever he can to help the first-round draft pick out of Michigan get to the top. "I think he's going to make a lot of splash for us. He's going to be a big-time player for us," says Shazier, who has occasionally conducted one-on-one film sessions with the youngster. Christian Kuntz, on Jacksonville's practice squad last season, is trying to make the team as a linebacker and long snapper. Kuntz played at Pittsburgh's Duquesne University, which has had only one NFL player (Leigh Bodden) since 1974. But it's the alma mater of former Steelers' co-owner Dan Rooney, and the team's ballpark is named after his father, Steelers founder Art Rooney. 



ABOUT THE TITANS: Tennessee is getting some "love" from the guys at NFL.com. Gil Brandt, the personnel guru, and Hall of Famer calls the Titans' quarterback situation the "most enviable in the NFL" because he believes Ryan Tannehill to be the best backup QB in the league. Writer Chris Wesseling praised defensive tackle Isaiah Mack, an undrafted free agent, as the team's most promising rookie, off two strong efforts in the pre-season. DT Jeffery Simmons, taken in the first round out of Mississippi State, is unavailable to the team after having ACL surgery several months ago. During his rehab, which includes some light workouts, Simmons is being tutored by veteran Jurrell Casey. And head coach Mike Vrabel likes that. "I think it’s really positive that Jurrell’s with them to be able to explain the technique when [Simmons] hears a coach says it, and also show him the technique," says Vrabel. Tight end Jonnu Smith and kicker Ryan Succop have been activated from the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list. Former Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry, who hasn't practiced in more than three weeks because of a calf injury, finally got back onto the field this week, although Vrabel hasn't decided if he'll play Saturday night. Henry rushed for 1059 yards and a dozen touchdowns last season. Regardless of what happens there, Jeremy McNichols, the second-year running back, will get to showcase himself again. He caught a TD pass in spectacular fashion in the 22-17 loss to New England last week and also had a 33-yard TD run called back. 

EXTRA POINTS

1. In 2018, no team was as successful turning red-zone trips into touchdowns than the Steelers, who converted 73.5% of the time. 

2. Tennessee's offensive coordinator, Arthur Smith, is the son of FedEx founder Fred Smith, who also is part-owner of the Washington Redskins. 

3. Ray Sherman, has been named the Steelers’ interim wide receivers coach for the 2019 season. He has not been a coach in the league since 2015. 


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Key Players to Watch

Stadium

LP Field
Nashville, Tennessee, USA.
Capacity: 68,798

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Last Injuries

Tennessee Titans

  • Johnathan Cyprien

    Knee
    Prob Sun | probable

    Cyprien is nursing a knee injury, but it is expected that he will be available against the Lions on Sunday.

  • Kevin Pamphile

    Knee
    day-to-day | questionable

    Pamphile has missed the past three games due to a knee injury, and it is unclear if he will play Week 4 against Falcons.

  • Wesley Woodyard

    Quadricep
    day-to-day | questionable

    Woodyard missed the last game with a quadriceps injury. It is uncertain if he will take the field Week 4 against the Falcons.

  • Rashaan Evans

    Arm
    day-to-day | questionable

    Evans exited the previous game due to a left arm injury. It is undetermined if he will be available against the Falcons during Week 4.

  • Sharif Finch

    Ankle
    day-to-day | questionable

    Finch departed the last game due to a right ankle injury, and his status for Week 4 against the Falcons is up in the air.

  • Chris Milton

    Collarbone
    day-to-day | questionable

    Milton sat out the previous game due to a collarbone injury, and it is undetermined if he will face the Falcons during Week 4.

  • David Fluellen

    Hamstring
    day-to-day | questionable

    Fluellen has been held out of the previous two games due to a hamstring injury, and it is unknown if he will suit up against the Falcons in Week 4.

  • Dane Cruikshank

    Ankle
    Prob Thurs | probable

    Cruikshank is hampered by an ankle injury, but he is projected to take part in Thursday's tilt versus the Jaguars.

Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Vince Williams

    Hamstring
    Out Sun | out

    Williams left the last game with an injured hamstring, and he will not take the field Sunday versus the 49ers.

  • Vance McDonald

    Back
    Prob Sun | probable

    McDonald is likely to participate in Sunday's game versus the 49ers despite a back injury.

  • Joe Haden

    Shoulder
    Prob Sun | probable

    Haden has a shoulder injury, but it is anticipated that he will suit up for Sunday's clash against the 49ers.

  • Bud Dupree

    Ankle
    Prob Sun | probable

    Dupree is hobbled by an ankle injury, but it is projected that he will play Sunday against the 49ers.

  • James Conner

    Knee
    Prob Sun | probable

    Conner was lifted from the last game due to a left knee injury, but he is likely to play Sunday against the 49ers.

  • Sean Davis

    Shoulder
    I-R | I-R

    Davis has been placed on the injured reserve list with a shoulder injury.

  • Anthony Chickillo

    Foot
    Out Sun | out

    Chickillo has been diagnosed with plantar fasciitis, and will not be active for Sunday's contest against the 49ers.

  • Ben Roethlisberger

    Elbow
    I-R | I-R

    Roethlisberger has been placed on injured reserve due to right elbow surgery.

tennessee-titans Stats 2019-2020

Passing
Player GP GS PR PLY PPA PPC PPI PPS PSY PT PY
Player GP GS PR PLY PPA PPC PPI PPS PSY PT PY
Marcus Mariota 3 3 99.275 75 92 56 0 17 122 4 706
Russing
Player GP GS RNY RLY RP RT
Player GP GS RNY RLY RP RT
Derrick Henry 3 3 210 18 51 3
Marcus Mariota 3 3 90 15 14 0
Dion Lewis 3 0 29 6 9 0
Jonnu Smith 3 3 10 10 1 0
Adam Humphries 3 1 1 1 1 0
Receiving
Player GP GS RY RLY RR RT RT
Player GP GS RY RLY RR RT RT
Delanie Walker 3 2 158 29 16 21 2
A.J. Brown 3 3 129 51 7 14 0
Adam Humphries 3 1 97 30 9 12 0
Tajae Sharpe 3 0 94 47 4 7 0
Derrick Henry 3 3 89 75 4 7 1
Defense
Player GP GS DST DAT DFF DFR DI DIY DFD DS DSY DTFL
Player GP GS DST DAT DFF DFR DI DIY DFD DS DSY DTFL
Jayon Brown 3 3 14 7 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 0
Kenny Vaccaro 3 3 13 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
Malcolm Butler 3 3 11 2 0 0 1 38 3 0 0 0
Kevin Byard 3 3 10 3 0 0 1 28 1 0 0 1
Rashaan Evans 3 3 10 7 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
Kicking
Player GP GS FGS FGA FGSLY EPKA EPKS
Player GP GS FGS FGA FGSLY EPKA EPKS
Kick Returning
Player GP GS KR KRF KRLY KRY
Player GP GS KR KRF KRLY KRY
Darius Jennings 3 0 4 0 26 78
Adoree' Jackson 3 2 1 0 23 23
Taywan Taylor 1 1 1 0 23 23
Fumbles
Player GP GS F FL FRLBO FRT OFR OFRT
Player GP GS F FL FRLBO FRT OFR OFRT
Marcus Mariota 3 3 2 0 0 0 1 0
Adoree' Jackson 3 2 1 1 0 0 0 0
Corey Davis 3 2 1 0 0 0 0 0
Derrick Henry 3 3 1 0 0 0 0 0
Dennis Kelly 3 3 0 0 0 0 1 0
Punting
Player GP GS P PGY PIT PLY PP PT TT
Player GP GS P PGY PIT PLY PP PT TT
Derrick Henry 3 3 24 0 0 0 0 0 4
Delanie Walker 3 2 12 0 0 0 0 0 2
David Quessenberry 3 0 6 0 0 0 0 0 1
Malcolm Butler 3 3 6 0 0 0 0 0 1
Brett Kern 3 0 0 937 9 70 20 2 0
Punt Returning
Player GP GS PR PRF PRLY PRY
Player GP GS PR PRF PRLY PRY
Adoree' Jackson 3 2 3 1 17 26
Adam Humphries 3 1 0 5 0 0

pittsburgh-steelers Stats 2019-2020

Passing
Player GP GS PR PLY PPA PPC PPI PPS PSY PT PY
Player GP GS PR PLY PPA PPC PPI PPS PSY PT PY
Mason Rudolph 1 0 92.434 45 19 12 1 0 0 2 112
Ben Roethlisberger 2 2 65.995 45 62 35 1 2 7 0 351
Russing
Player GP GS RNY RLY RP RT
Player GP GS RNY RLY RP RT
James Conner 2 2 54 14 21 1
Benny Snell Jr. 2 0 23 23 1 0
Jaylen Samuels 2 0 22 7 5 0
Ben Roethlisberger 2 2 7 7 1 0
Mason Rudolph 1 0 7 7 1 0
Receiving
Player GP GS RY RLY RR RT RT
Player GP GS RY RLY RR RT RT
JuJu Smith-Schuster 2 2 162 45 11 16 0
Vance McDonald 2 2 78 21 9 11 2
James Washington 2 1 74 45 4 9 0
James Conner 2 2 56 23 7 8 0
Diontae Johnson 2 0 42 17 4 9 0
Defense
Player GP GS DST DAT DFF DFR DI DIY DFD DS DSY DTFL
Player GP GS DST DAT DFF DFR DI DIY DFD DS DSY DTFL
Terrell Edmunds 2 2 13 5 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0
Devin Bush 2 1 10 8 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
Joe Haden 2 2 10 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Mark Barron 2 1 8 5 0 1 0 0 0 1 3 0
Mike Hilton 2 1 8 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
Kicking
Player GP GS FGS FGA FGSLY EPKA EPKS
Player GP GS FGS FGA FGSLY EPKA EPKS
Chris Boswell 2 0 3 3 41 2 2
Kick Returning
Player GP GS KR KRF KRLY KRY
Player GP GS KR KRF KRLY KRY
Ryan Switzer 2 0 2 0 26 43
Fumbles
Player GP GS F FL FRLBO FRT OFR OFRT
Player GP GS F FL FRLBO FRT OFR OFRT
Ben Roethlisberger 2 2 1 0 0 0 1 0
Maurkice Pouncey 2 2 1 0 0 0 0 0
Ryan Switzer 2 0 1 0 0 0 1 0
Devin Bush 2 1 0 0 1 0 0 0
Mark Barron 2 1 0 0 1 0 0 0
Punting
Player GP GS P PGY PIT PLY PP PT TT
Player GP GS P PGY PIT PLY PP PT TT
Vance McDonald 2 2 12 0 0 0 0 0 2
Chris Boswell 2 0 11 0 0 0 0 0 0
James Conner 2 2 6 0 0 0 0 0 1
Jordan Berry 2 0 0 452 4 58 10 0 0
Mason Rudolph 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2
Punt Returning
Player GP GS PR PRF PRLY PRY
Player GP GS PR PRF PRLY PRY
Diontae Spencer 2 0 4 2 17 35
Diontae Johnson 2 0 1 0 11 11
Ryan Switzer 2 0 1 2 1 1